DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly
on: August 09, 2005, 01:16:54 AM
Man forgets wife at gas station
Monday, August 8, 2005; Posted: 10:36 a.m. EDT (14:36 GMT)
Italy ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- A Macedonian man left his wife at an Italian service station and only realized he had driven off without her six hours later, news agency Ansa said.
The couple, who were travelling with their 4-year-old daughter, pulled over for petrol in the coastal city of Pesaro as they were heading back to their home to Germany.
After filling the tank, the husband drove away -- without noticing that his 30-year-old wife, originally from Georgia, had got out of the car to go to the toilet.
The woman, who had no money or documents with her, contacted the police who eventually traced her husband to Milan, some 340 km (210 miles) north of Pesaro, Ansa said.
The husband told police he had not missed his wife because she always sat in the back of the car with their daughter.
Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Guau
on: August 07, 2005, 08:47:43 PM
Regrese' de Peru el viernes en la manana despues de 18 dias alli.
Yo disfrutaba mucho el seminario en Ica, pero el tiempo con mi madre fue dificil. Unos dias antes de que yo llegue', ella fue robada en su casa por 8 hombres con pistolas y mi tiempo con ella estaba dedicaba a preparando un equipo para su seguridad.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People
on: August 07, 2005, 08:41:02 PM
The real reason behind the push for gun control:
And yet Democrats do believe in gun control, even though playground gunshot injuries are a proven vote-getter. This is because Democrats believe that gun owners want to keep their guns mostly in case they need to shoot Democrats. It happened in 1861 and it could happen again.? PJ O?Rourke
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico
on: August 02, 2005, 12:21:12 PM
Muchisimas gracias por los articulos con procedencia de Mexico compartidos aqui. Lamento que otra vez poner otro en ingles. Si alguien tiene programa de traduccion, se le agradeceria mucho su traduccion por los quienes no leen el ingles.
Tambien lamento no tener tiempo en este momento para ofrecer mis pensamientos sobre estos graves acontecimientos, pero cuando yo tenga el tiempo para hacerlo, si' lo hare.
Mexican mercenaries expand base into U.S.
By Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
August 1, 2005
A renegade band of Mexican military deserters, offering $50,000 bounties for the assassination of U.S. law-enforcement officers, has expanded its base of operations into the United States to protect loads of cocaine and marijuana being brought into America by Mexican smugglers, authorities said.
The deserters, known as the "Zetas," trained in the United States as an elite force of anti-drug commandos, but have since signed on as mercenaries for Mexican narcotics traffickers and have recruited an army of followers, many of whom are believed to be operating in Texas, Arizona, California and Florida.
Working mainly for the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico's most dangerous drug-trafficking organizations, as many as 200 Zeta members are thought to be involved, including former Mexican federal, state and local police. They are suspected in more than 90 deaths of rival gang members and others, including police officers, in the past two years in a violent drug war to control U.S. smuggling routes.
The organization's hub, law-enforcement authorities said, is Nuevo Laredo, a border city of 300,000 across from Laredo, Texas. It is the most active port-of-entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, with more than 6,000 trucks crossing daily into Texas, carrying about 40 percent of Mexico's total exports.
Authorities said the Zetas control the city despite efforts by Mexican President Vicente Fox to restore order. He sent hundreds of Mexican troops and federal agents to the city in March to set up highway checkpoints and conduct raids on suspected Zeta locations.
Despite the presence of law enforcement, more than 100 killings have occurred in the city since Jan. 1, including that of former Police Chief Alejandro Dominguez, 52, gunned down June 8, just seven hours after he was sworn in. The city's new chief, Omar Pimentel, 37, escaped death during a drive-by shooting on his first day, although one of his bodyguards was killed.
Authorities said the Zetas operate over a wide area of the U.S.-Mexico border and are suspected in at least three drug-related slayings in the Dallas area. They said as many as 10 Zeta members are operating inside Texas as Gulf Cartel assassins, seeking to protect nearly $10 million in daily drug transactions.
In March, the Justice Department said the Zetas were involved "in multiple assaults and are believed to have hired criminal gangs" in the Dallas area for contract killings. The department said the organization was spreading from Texas to California and Florida and was establishing drug-trafficking routes it was willing to protect "at any cost."
Just last month, the department issued a new warning to law-enforcement authorities in Arizona and California, urging them to be on the lookout for Zeta members. An intelligence bulletin said a search for new drug-smuggling routes in the two states by the organization could bring new violence to the areas.
The number of assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents along the 260 miles of U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona known as the Tucson sector has increased dramatically this year, including a May 30 shooting near Nogales, Ariz., in which two agents were seriously wounded during an ambush a mile north of the border.
Their assailants were dressed in black commando-type clothing, used high-powered weapons and hand-held radios to point out the agents' location, and withdrew from the area using military-style cover and concealment tactics to escape back into Mexico.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada in Nogales said his investigators found commando clothing, food, water and other "sophisticated equipment" at the ambush site.
Since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, there have been 196 assaults on Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector, including 24 shootings. During the same period last year, 92 assaults were reported, with five shootings. The sector is the busiest alien- and drug-trafficking corridor in the country.
U.S. intelligence officials have described the Zetas as an expanding gang of mercenaries with intimate knowledge of Mexican drug-trafficking methods and routes. Strategic Forecasting Inc., a security consulting firm that often works with the State and Defense departments, said in a recent report the Zetas had maintained "connections to the Mexican law-enforcement establishment" to gain unfettered access throughout the southern border.
Many of the Zeta leaders belonged to an elite anti-drug paratroop and intelligence battalion known as the Special Air Mobile Force Group, who deserted in 1991 and aligned themselves with drug traffickers.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tom 'The Whip' Meadows' new paladin press book...
on: August 02, 2005, 12:13:57 PM
My son Conrad & I stopped by Tom's place in Cambria (an incredibly beautiful place btw) a few weeks ago on a drive up to the bay area and I got to see the book. He only had one copy at that moment and so I was not able to walk away with my very own copy, but I was highly impressed with what I saw.
The book includes chapters on other approaches to the whip as well as Tom's and for these chapters alone the book is worth buying. That said,
Tom I think has used his experience fighting with Top Dog to very good effect. He has thought long and well about the length of the whip and greeting any "succeessful" closes with a knife.
I will be buying my very own copy.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Greetings to all members!
on: August 02, 2005, 10:02:12 AM
Stickgrappler is right.
The staff is one of the most widely used and studied weapons in martial arts around the world and it is no surprise that we see similarities.
SG please feel free to start a thread titled "Staff from around the world" and share with us these manuals.
The Adventure continues,
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Voy a Peru 18 de Julio.
on: July 25, 2005, 09:54:10 AM
Guau a todos:
Yo quisiera agradecer a todos que vinieron al seminario que tuvo lugar este fin de semana en Ica. Me siento humilde que tanta gente viajaron las cuatro horas desde Lima.
Gracias especiales a Carlos no solo por haber organizado el seminario pero tambien por haber encontrado un grupo de tanta gente de buena onda.
Todos los pasabamos muy bien. El primer dia se trataba principalmente de Krabi Krabong y Los Triques y por la ultima porcion dia dia yo di una pequena muestra de Kali Tudo. Por el segundo dia, despues de un sobrepaso del primer dia, entrabamos en materia de "stick clinch", Snaggletooth y Kali Tudo.
Despues del seminario yo hablaba a todos los nuevos miembros de la DBMA Associacion. Ahora contamos con un "DBMA Training Group" en Lima, y los "Lideres del Grupo" son Carlos y Christian. Cuando yo regrese a los EU, dare' los datos a mi esposa para que ella haga los tramites para inscribir los nuevos miembros y poner en nuestro website los datos de contacto para Carlos y Christian.
Voy a estar viajando mas a menudo a Humay a ayudar a mi madre-- por lo cual sera' muy facil ayudar ir para adelante a ese grupo.
La Adventura continua!
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 24, 2005, 11:56:44 PM
Much like a victim of spousal abuse,
The Left always seems to have an excuse
For barbarous behavior by terrorist thugs,
Their violence dismissed with self-blaming shrugs.
Oh, they just can?t help it, they just get so mad,
When we get them upset by behaving so bad.
It?s not really their fault that we suffer their blows;
We provoked them ourselves as everyone knows.
Like a cowering wife with her bruised blackened eye,
The Liberal defeatists just keep asking why;
What is it in us our tormentors despise?
What will gain us some favor in those angry eyes?
It must be our doing that sets them aflame;
Our own bad behavior that must bear the blame.
If we just appease them, we grovel and simper,
Perhaps we?ll avoid the mad wrath of their temper.
Battered wives learn what the Left cannot see:
Excusing brutal behavior will not set you free.
Appeasing these madmen just maddens them more,
Till someday they?ll come and kill three thousand more.
Quit making excuses for these murderous men,
You Liberal appeasers, who?d let terrorists win.
The only sure way to be free of their ire:
Defeat and destroy them; fight fire with fire.
Russ Vaughn is the Poet Laureate of The American Thinker
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Voy a Peru 18 de Julio.
on: July 21, 2005, 08:41:03 AM
Carlos me ha informado que el semario comenzara' el sabado a las 14:00 para dar tiempo a la gente que vienen de Lima para llegar a Ica. Dice que alguien viene de Chile (o fue Argentina?) y que posiblemente tambien alguien viene de Ecuador.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article
on: July 21, 2005, 12:25:02 AM
Your response leaves me wondering if we are thinking of the same thing.
For me hubud is used to develop skill in various tools and techniques: hammer fist, various guntings, arm drags, wrenches, tapi-tapi, disarms, trapping combos etc etc etc
What does it mean for you?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 15, 2005, 12:28:35 PM
What?s worse than crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundations rotten with decades of termite damage?
NOT crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundations rotten with decades of termite damage.
I?ve been away for a while, doing a little thinking. Usually, my thoughts for these past few years have started at home and then taken me to Iraq, and the war. Lately, though, I have been thinking about Iraq, and my thoughts turn more and more to home.
I started thinking along these lines six months ago, after a young Marine shot and killed a wounded Iraqi in a mosque in Fallujah
The ideas behind this little adventure we are about to embark upon have changed enormously since then. I have, quite frankly, been at a loss to know how to put so many wide-ranging snapshots together into this montage, this image, this idea of Sanctuary that I think holds the key to many of the problems we face today.
Stay with me -- our first stop is not our destination, but it is a necessary one. So let me first take you on that original journey, and show you how events in Iraq can show us how to fight and win a much wider and deeper conflict, right here at home.
Now to hear some fellers tell it, the entire idea of ?Unlawful Combatants? came to Sith mastermind Darth Rover in a vision, and he instructed his familiars Chimpy McBushitler and Torture Master Rumsfeld to use it as an excuse to begin the unjustified savagery that is such an essential part of the American character.
Absent from this worldview is?well?just about everything.
During the actual Major Combat Operations of Iraqi Freedom, US generosity and grace toward defeated elements of the Iraqi regular army was in the highest tradition of the US Military, which is justifiably well-known for its benevolence toward a defeated adversary on the battlefield. Surrendering Iraqi regular units were given rations and medical care, and their officers were allowed to keep their sidearms as a show of respect and authority. I have not seen or heard of a single case of anything less than exemplary conduct regarding enemy regular-army soldiers.
So why were the Taliban and Al Qaeda and Fedayeen insurgents treated so differently? Why the hoods and shackles? Why the humiliation at Abu Graib?
It is not because these men shot at US soldiers. Regular Iraqi units, NVA units, North Korean Units, Germans, Japanese, Confederates and Redcoats have shot at American soldiers and upon their surrender their treatment has been, on the whole, exemplary. Why are these different?
It is not because they are opposing us. It is ? to put it as bluntly as possible ? because they are cheating ? cheating in a way that none of the above ever did.
They have willfully and repeatedly broken the covenant of Sanctuary.
What is the obvious difference between an enemy Prisoner of War, and an Unlawful Combatant? Suppose two of them were standing in a line-up. What one glaringly obvious thing sets them apart?
That?s right! One is wearing a uniform, and the other isn?t.
And why do soldiers wear uniforms?
It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier?s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME!
And that?s exactly what a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed.
Now if that?s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does -- the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person ? is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not.
By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population.
And this Sanctuary is as old as human history. The first civilized people on Earth, these very same Iraqis, who had cities and agriculture and arts and letters when my ancestors were living in caves, wore uniforms as soldiers of Babylon. This is an ancient covenant, and willfully breaking it is unspeakably dishonorable.
Now, imagine you are involved in street-to-street fighting?
We should actually stop right here. No one can imagine street-to-street fighting. It is a refined horror that you have lived through or you have not, and all I can do with the full power of my imagination does not get to the shadow of it. Nevertheless, there are men who have peered around corners in Fallujah, and Hue, and Carentan and a hundred unknown places; places where the enemy?s rifle may be leveled inches away from your nose, awaiting the last split-second of your young life.
Most of the time, you do not have time to think. A person jumps up from below a window three feet away. If he is wearing a grey tunic and a coal-scuttle helmet, it?s a Kraut and you let him have it before he kills you and your buddies. But what if he is wearing street clothes? What if he is smiling at you?
For brutal soldiers ? like the Nazi?s those of the far left accuse us of being precisely equal to ? this is a moot point. The SS killed everything that moved. They executed prisoners in uniforms, partisans, hostages and children. They were animals.
Our soldiers are civilized, compassionate and decent citizens doing a tough, horrible job. That means when they see someone who might be a civilian, they hesitate. That hesitation can and has killed them. And some people wonder why enemy soldiers without the honor and courage to wear a uniform are treated less than honorably after being captured by men full of courage and restraint.
Worse ? worse by far ? than the artificial safety given to enemies not wearing a uniform is the additional horror such behavior will inevitably inflict upon their own civilian population.
And it doesn?t hurt to point out ? repeatedly ? that the people they are putting at infinitely greater risk are supposedly the very people these so-called Muslim Warriors claim be trying to protect: their own women and children. Michael Moore has called these ruthless cowards the moral equivalent of our revolutionary Minutemen. I would point out to Mr. Moore that when confronted by an overwhelming enemy force, our Minutemen grabbed their guns, put their elderly, their women and their children behind them, and went out to face their adversary as far away from the weak and vulnerable as possible. These people do precisely the opposite. Our Minutemen fought for Freedom and Liberty; these fight for repression, state torture, and the right to force everyone to behave as they see fit. Am I surprised that Michael Moore cannot see this difference? I am not. The man has not seen his own toes for two decades, and they are a good deal closer to him than the streets of Fallujah.
Do those protesters ever wonder why prisoners of war in World War II movies ? soldiers -- trying to escape in civilian clothes would be shot as spies? A soldier out of uniform, a soldier trying to hide in the civilian population is gaining a one-time personal advantage, but that not the real sin. The real sin is that he is endangering the non-combatants. He is using civilians as cover. He is breaking down the barrier between the armed and the unarmed, the threat and the non-threat. He is trying to have it both ways.
Whenever there is war and invasion, there will be terrified civilians trying to get from one place to another. In the very early hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when we expected to be fighting the same Army that in the Gulf War fully honored the idea of uniformed troops, our soldiers discovered large numbers of unarmed, military-aged men in civilian clothes making for the rear. Many of these men were let through, and promptly took up arms and caused immeasurable damage before blending back into the population.
But they did much worse. Because after a few suicide bombers in civilian vehicles drove up to checkpoints and blew themselves and honor-abiding Coalition soldiers to bits, we have found ourselves having to treat all speeding civilian vehicles as hostile. We simply have no choice anymore. We did not simply decide to open fire on civilians; rather the enemy, in a cold and calculated decision repeated many, many times over, decided to violate the Sanctuary given to civilians to wage war on an American and British Army playing by the rules. They have made the line between civilian and soldier nonexistent. They did this, not us. They did it. They gained the benefits from it, and it has cost us dear. And so perhaps, in a world with less ignorance and more honesty, Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena ? who sped at a US roadblock, weaving, at more than 60 mph and in violation of warning shots -- would be pointing her finger at the people who violated this Covenant of Civilization, and not those being forced to make terrible decisions in order to preserve it.
War is hell, and soldiers have to live there. It is an unbearable burden; unbearable in the sense that not a single man and woman who has been fully exposed to war has ever come back home. Someone else comes back home. Sometimes, it is a better person. Sometimes a worse one. But they are different, all changed in the horror and crucible of war.
And so from the beginning of war, there exists between soldiers a bond that cannot be described. There is the obvious connection of a soldier to his comrades, but there is too a strong sense of respect and kinship with the soldier on the other side of No Man?s Land, shivering in cold wet places just the same, under orders and doing his job, too ? just wanting to get the thing over with and go home.
Surrender is a mercy in such a place. The idea that certain death may be avoided, that one might be willing to simply give up fighting and still survive, is mercy of the deepest blue. Surrendering enemy soldiers are often greeted with a warmth and understanding that friendly civilians do not receive, for they have shared in the misery and hardship of war in ways that we comfortable and safe civilians can never know.
Surrender, in war, is perhaps the ultimate of Sanctuaries. It is a way out when hope and rescue have fled the field. Honorable surrender has never been treated with shame by any American unit I have ever heard of.
And so, when groups of un-uniformed enemy soldiers waving white flags suddenly drop and open fire on unsuspecting, generous and honorable Americans, then the masters of these men have made a terrible bargain. They have destroyed the Sanctuary of Surrender, and eliminated for their own men a deep and abiding refuge in the nightmare of the battlefield.
They have done this to their own men. Not us. We have known of the brutality of the Iraqi army regarding prisoners from at least as far back as those taken and beaten during the first Gulf War, and as far as improvements over the intervening years, we might perhaps call Jessica Lynch to tell us of any newfound magnanimity on the part of the Ba?athists.
False surrender as a weapon of ambush is an abomination. When it is repeated, it is obvious that is not an aberration; it is policy. It is, like the abandonment of the uniform, a tactic to gain a short-term advantage that leads to long-term hardship and misery for their own troops. It is a Devil?s bargain, and they have had the Devil to pay for it ? as have we.
They violate the Sanctuary of the Uniform. They violate the Sanctuary of Surrender. And the most reprehensible of all is the violation of the Sanctuary of Mercy.
Throughout the insurgency, and especially in places like Fallujah, enemy fighters with real or feigned wounds have called for aid. Not often does a soldier who has been in combat look down upon the wounded of either side without horror and sympathy. In places like Fallujah and Iwo Jima and Antietam it is an easy thing to see one?s own reflection in that grimace and that agony.
So when a soldier out of uniform, who may have faked surrender to kill unsuspecting Americans, calls for aid and then willfully kills medics with a concealed grenade? where does that leave us? What unplumbed depths remain? When mercy is used as a weapon against the merciful, what horrors and abominations remain unplayed?
THAT, dear left-wing Citadels of Conscience, is what we are up against. That is what you support against the decency, honor and kindness you mock in your own countrymen as they build schools and hospitals and, indeed, an entire democracy. That is the definition of ?Unlawful Combatant.? It is not a legal nicety, and it is not a rhetorical flourish. It is a pattern of ruthlessness, deception and murder. And regardless of your motive, it is the side you find yourself taking.
These are the kind of men in Guantanamo. Who controls such men? And when busloads of men from Afghanistan and Syria and Jordan and Egypt and Iran, men without uniforms, men not under the control of any officer, men who follow no code of conduct other than an oath to kill any American, anywhere ? who among us with a gram of understanding and perspective can be surprised when such men are hooded and shackled on air transports? And being left to sleep in the open air is one thing in Northern Germany in the winter of ?44, and something else entirely in the middle of the goddam Caribbean! I mean, for the love of God, some of the people screaming themselves into a lather over such an outrage will pay tens of thousands of dollars for the same privilege a few miles away on a catamaran anchored off the coast of Jamaica.
And when people acting on the stage of their own moral outrage wonder when such men will be released, what do we say to them? When Osama bin Laden officially surrenders Al Qaeda on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan? They have no government, they have no command structure, they have no objective but death. That is their great strength, and by God, it is also their weakness, and we would be fools ? absolute drooling idiots ? to let them have it both ways.
These fanatics have been rigorously coached to lie about mistreatment and torture, and despite this transparent fact, every utterance they make is breathlessly quoted and trumpeted by the press as absolute truth. The naked human pyramids, intimidation with dogs, sexual humiliation and threat of electroshock torture that marked a day or two of mistreatment at Abu Graib were the tools used by immature and untrained individuals precisely because the methods previously employed at that location ? removal of fingers and tongues and genitalia, electrified wire brushes, and the rape and murder of relatives before the eyes of the prisoner ? are so far beyond the horizon of what American interrogators are able to imagine doing that any comparison between the two betrays the moral blindness of those making the comparison.
Is humiliation the same as torture? It is not -- that's why the words are spelled differently. To get to the heart of the difference, assume you were a prisoner at Abu Graib, and your interrogator started to remove your fingers one by one with bolt cutters. How long would it take you to beg to be posed with women?s panties on your head? Yeah, I thought so.
This is not to excuse in any way the shameful behavior committed there by a few individuals who clearly are not fit to wear the uniform of the United States. They have disgraced us all and done incalculable damage. But if producing humiliation and fear is now to be defined as ?torture,? what international human rights organization will be appointed to help the surviving readers of The New York Times?
No system built on human behavior is perfect; they can only be good. What's a reasonable guess as to the number of sadistic, brutal and infantile Americans who so dishonored their uniforms at Abu Graib? Shall we say, perhaps fifteen? Fifteen who knew about what was happening, and countenenced it? So those fifteen, out of a total force of 150,000, completely negate the hard work, restraint, courage and compassion of the rest of the American presence in Iraq?
That is not ten percent bad apples. That is not one percent. That is not one-tenth of a percent. It is, in round numbers one percent of one per cent. What is the percentage of of criminals in the general population? A hundred times that? A thousand? Can college professors boast that kind of quality control? Can reporters? And yet this is all the press can obsess about, for over a year...the behavior of .0001 of the U.S. forces employed to liberate Iraq?
But remember, there is no bias in the media.
And by the way, has it not occurred to anyone that during the years since 9/11 there has not been a single terrorist attack on the United States? Do you think they simply stopped trying? Or have we been winning a secret war of information in dark rooms in Langley, Virginia? How many failed attempts have there been to kill you and your family in the past four years? Two? Twenty? One Hundred?
If we cannot use torture to get that information -- and we most emphatically should not and have not -- then what can we use? Anything? No intimidation? No sleep deprivation? No threats? No coersion? No drugs? What are we left with to persuade these killers to talk? The comfy chair?
It is not only possible, but likely, that many of the press elites who consider bright lights and harsh language as a form of ?torture interrogation? are alive today in places like New York and San Francisco precisely because of information gleaned from inmates at Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. I have no doubt of this whatsoever. What would their response be, I wonder, if standing at the funeral of their friends and children they discovered that the information needed to save their lives could have been obtained not through torture, but through fear of torture, or through humiliation and intimidation?
As you sit here reading this, there are men and women working around the clock using information obtained ? not just without torture, but humanely ? to keep us safe at night. They do this without any recognition or fanfare. But there are no less than ten televised award shows each year honoring those who do the best job at playing make-believe, and more often than not, the heroes they pretend to be are the soldiers and intelligence agents and policemen they so spectacularly spit upon the second the camera stops rolling.
We worship the wrong people. More on that in a moment.
There is one final layer of atrocity, a violation of the very core idea of Sanctuary as a place of safe haven that the insurgents in Iraq practice with abandon.
These religious fanatics, who will form a mob and tear a person limb from limb if he (or especially she) so much as looks askance at a copy of the Quran, routinely and methodically have used mosques ? even their most sacred mosques ? as ammunition dumps, staging areas and firing positions, viewing our decency and restraint as foolishness and weakness.
These acts have been recorded so many times that it has become banal. It?s just a fact. It?s what they do.
If they had genuine respect for their own religions and holy places they would give them the widest berth available, not turn them into command bunkers, ambush sites and staging areas.
Here is a violation of Sanctuary written as plainly as the eye can see. They use safe havens -- hospitals, hotels and places of worship -- as military fortresses because they are counting on our decency and honor to spare them from retaliation.
Actually, it is deeper than that. I suspect what they are really counting on is that sooner or later, such provocations have to be answered. And then there will be armies of useful idiots with television cameras and microphones and Expensive Hair, who will rally the full weight of recrimination and guilt and defeatism and accomplish for a few bearded lunatics what entire armored divisions could not achieve for them on the battlefield: Victory over the Americans.
But what has shocked and dismayed me, way beyond the sadness and regret of our losses, has been the willingness, even the eagerness, among many on the left who want nothing more than to see our side lose.
Our soldiers are fighting and dying to install what any sane person can see is a widely-representative democracy, heroically elected at great personal risk. Opposing them are a shadow army of former secret policemen, state torturers, and foreign invaders of every stripe who kill Iraqi policemen, behead innocent Iraqi cabdrivers, and detonate car bombs at the opening of new schools and children?s centers. There may be an explanation for this support I am not seeing. I, for one, can not get past the idea that millions of Western Progressives would rather see a nation re-enslaved, or erupt in civil war, or have twenty thousand of their countrymen come home in boxes than admit that they were wrong.
And they have the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to claim the moral high ground?
I am trying my level best to understand how and why someone who professes to be for freedom for artists, homosexuals and women ? not to mention unlimited personal expression of every stripe -- can take the side of 8th Century religious fanatics who brag about murdering writers, stoning women, beheading homosexuals and instituting moral policemen at every street corner with unquestioned authority to beat, jail or execute anyone suspected of being insufficiently pious.
I used to wonder why civilizations fell. No longer. I see it now before my eyes, every day. Civilizations do not fall because the Barbarians storm the walls. The forces of civilization are far too powerful, and those of barbarism far too weak, for that to happen.
Civilizations fall because the people inside the Sanctuary throw open the gates.
Look around. Tell me what you see. Look at how the entire idea of civilization is under attack. Abandoning the ideas of civilization and savagery is tantamount to throwing open the gates. Maintaining a civilization takes work ? savagery, not so much. If both are equal then what?s the point?
Don?t think there?s any difference? Then here?s a little show-and-tell for you, Scooter:
When Newsweek runs an unsubstantiated rumor about flushing a Quran down the toilet, entire nations erupt into riots that leave many dead and more, likely, to follow. That is savagery.
Trained teams of Islamic murderers hijack four airliners, slit the throats of their crews, immolate their passengers as flying bombs and destroy the heart of a city and worse, and the most powerful people the world has ever known sit patiently trying to identify the perpetrators and then sacrifices its own children to reform a diseased and despotic region with overwhelming restraint and discretion ? that is civilization.
Really, all I?m trying to do here is prevent the fall of Civilization. Now far be it from me to be so arrogant as to think I can prevent the fall of Civilization with a single essay! It may take several essays; in fact, if things are worse than I feared it might take an entire book.
Here?s my thesis: Civilizations fall because they become so successful that their citizens become, over many generations of increasing security and prosperity, further and further away from the reality of the human condition. The quest for ?better? becomes so successful that after a few generations of hard work and ingenuity we have nothing left but the quest for ?perfect.? More and more effort produces fewer and smaller results, because the quest for perfection is asymptotic. Perfection is unattainable.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 14, 2005, 10:09:50 PM
Message: July 14, 2005
Make No Mistake: It's a War of Civilizations
By Ed Koch
The events of 9/11 and 7/7 will dominate the lives of
Americans and the British for generations to come.
Even if no more terrorist attacks are perpetrated against us --
regrettably, there will be -- those two acts of mass murder
will long be remembered. On 9/11, we suffered 2,986 dead
and 2,337 injured; On 7/7, the estimate is that 52 died and
700 were injured. English law enforcement has not yet
determined which group was responsible, although the
speculation is that al-Qaeda was involved. (now confirmed of course- Marc)
According to the U.S. government, the al Qaeda organization
is active in Europe, and other terrorist organizations are
associated with Islamic fanatics who live in more than 60
The various terrorist organizations are overwhelmingly
Muslim. I believe they are supported by millions of Muslims
around the world who are bent on destroying both Western
civilization and those Muslims, Christians and Jews who
believe in the Western values of democracy and tolerance. Of
course, not every Muslim is a fanatic or terrorist, as pointed
out by Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the
Al Arabiya television station, who said, "It is a certain fact
that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and
exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims."
They are responsible for near daily suicide bombings in Iraq
that have deliberately murdered Iraqi police, military
personnel and thousands of innocent civilians -- men, women
We are truly in a war of civilizations. While the Muslim
fanatics do not have us on the run, they have won some major
victories. I count among those victories the submission of
France and Germany to the demands of Islamic fanatics, and
their refusal to stand with us in Iraq, despite the fact that we
are now there pursuant to a U.N. Security Council resolution
and at the request of the recently-elected Iraqi government.
Italy, which originally stood with us, has announced it will
leave Iraq by the end of the year. Prime Minister Berlusconi is
running for reelection and is worried that the Italian electorate
will throw him out of office as did Spanish voters to their
pro-Iraq war prime minister and his governing party after the
Madrid railroad bombings. The newly-elected Socialist
government in Spain withdrew its troops. Poland has already
withdrawn its troops.
The Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe which issued
a statement taking responsibility for the London attack said
after berating Britain for its being in Iraq and Afghanistan,
"We still warn the governments of Denmark, Italy and all the
Crusader governments that they will meet the same fate if they don't pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Here we have it. For the Islamic terrorists, each and every one of their demands must be met by the Christian governments or they will suffer acts of terrorism. Every head of state has expressed outrage. For example, Chirac of France said, "I would like to express the full horror I feel at the terrorist attacks which bathed the British capital in blood this morning. I would like to express to all Londoners, to all of the British people, the solidarity, the compassion and the friendship of France and the French people."
What world leaders should have said is, "An attack upon any
one of us is an attack upon all of us and each of us now
pledges to send 10,000 troops to Iraq. We will not be
intimidated by terrorism."
Instead, they engaged in platitudes.
Today in Great Britain, George Galloway sits in the
Parliament, a former member of the Labor Party, who broke
away, joining the RESPECT party which ran in the last
election. Its major message is to blame Tony Blair for
supporting and joining forces with the U.S. in Iraq. Galloway
criticized Blair after 7/7 saying, "Tragically, Londoners have
now paid the price of the government ignoring such
warnings." Galloway represents the vision of the Brits who
supported Neville Chamberlain in 1939. Blair, on the other
hand, represents the vision of Winston Churchill. Fortunately,
the British chose to reelect Tony Blair in the last election. Blair
understands the Islamic terrorists worldwide are bent on
killing Christians (Crusaders), Jews and Muslims who defy
them. In Iraq, they have killed thousands of innocent civilians
-- Shiites -- who recently voted for a democratic, tolerant
In 1941, when Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor and Hitler
declared war on the U.S. four days later, there were
opponents of the Roosevelt policy of supporting the survival
of a British government seeking to repel the pending Nazi
invasion. Many of them were allied with the America First
Committee led by Charles Lindbergh who sought to use
anti-Semitism to coalesce the country, blaming the Jews for
the world's ills. Under that umbrella organization, there were
Nazi supporters and others who sought to be neutral in what
was then clearly becoming a war of civilizations, pitting
European and American democracy against fascist
The America First Committee dissolved after December 7,
1941, and most of its adherents stood shoulder-to-shoulder
against the enemies of the U.S. and Western civilization.
In England, there were comparable groups and they too
dissolved. Will that happen now in England as a result of 7/7?
Has it happened in the U.S. as a result of 9/11? Regrettably,
Should we stand aside in Iraq and elsewhere and allow the
terrorists to impose their will in that country and elsewhere
throughout the world? I think not. I believe that countries not
yet involved and unwilling to expend blood and money like
Germany, France and others to protect our democratic values
will rue their desertions from the cause of liberty and
In a recent New York Times article, Tom Friedman pointed
out, "The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the
madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a
controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was
sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day -- to this
day -- no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever
issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden."
Regrettably, our "friends" who are appalled by 7/7 are guilty as well by their absence from the battlefields of Iraq where the war between civilizations is now being waged.http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-7_14_05_EK.html
Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: July 14, 2005, 01:40:47 AM
The Mail Memo: A Glimpse into U.S. Strategic Thinking
By George Friedman
The Mail on Sunday, a British newspaper, recently published a memo that
editors claimed had been leaked by a British official. The document, titled
"Options for future UK force posture in Iraq" is dated 9 July 2005 and is
marked "Secret-UK Eyes Only." The document was a working paper prepared for
the Cabinet. What makes the memo extraordinarily important is that it
contains a discussion of a substantial drawdown of British and American
troops in Iraq, beginning in early 2006. Given the July 7 bombings in
London, the memo has not attracted as much notice as normally would be
expected. That is unfortunate because, if genuine, it provides a glimpse
into U.S. strategic thinking and indicates a break point in the war.
It is always difficult to know whether documents such as this are genuine.
In Britain, a steady trickle of classified documents has been leaked to the
press during the past month, all of which appear to have been validated as
authentic. That means that the idea of a classified document on this subject
being leaked to the press is far from unprecedented. There has been ample
time for Prime Minister Tony Blair or his government to deny the story, but
they haven't. Finally, the document coheres with our analysis of the current
situation on the ground in Iraq and the thinking in Washington. It makes
sense. That's certainly the most dangerous way to validate a document;
nevertheless, with the other indicators, we are comfortable with its
The document printed by the Mail contains the following lines:
a.. Emerging US plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed
over to Iraqi control by early 2006, allowing a reduction in overall MNF-I
from 176,000 down to 66,000.
b.. There is, however, a debate between the Pentagon/Centcom who favour a
relatively bold reduction in force numbers, and MNF-I whose approach is more
c.. The next MNF-I review of campaign progress due in late June may help
clarify thinking and provide an agreed framework for the way ahead.
According to this document, the strategic view of the United States is that
the insurrection in Iraq either never existed or has been brought under
control in most of the country. Therefore, security in these areas can be
turned over to Iraqis -- and, in some cases, already has been turned over.
The memo states that the insurrection has not been brought under control in
four provinces -- obviously, the hard-core Sunni provinces in central Iraq.
Given this strategic reality, the MNF-I (Multinational Force-Iraq) could be
reduced from 176,000 to 66,000. The implication here is that the reductions
would begin in early 2006 and proceed through the year.
The memo also says there is a debate going on between the Pentagon and
Central Command on the one side, and the command in Iraq on the other. The
Iraq command feels that withdrawal would be premature. They logically want
more boots on the ground for a longer period of time, because they are
responsible for the reality in Iraq. The Pentagon, CENTCOM and, by
implication, the White House, see, from a distance, a more hopeful
situation. Therefore, a debate has broken out between the most senior
command and the theater command. The report appears to have been written in
the spring, as it speaks of a review by MNF-I in June. Certainly, no
fundamental shift in the reality has taken place since then, and it would be
reasonable to assume that the same intentions hold -- and that the command
in Iraq still has serious reservations but that the president and secretary
of defense probably have a good chance of prevailing.
It has been our view that the White House is not kidding when officials say
they are optimistic about the situation in Iraq. What they see is a
containment of the insurgency to a relatively small area of Iraq. They also
see the guerrillas as split by inducements to the Sunni leadership to join
the political process. The White House does not believe it has the situation
under control in the four provinces, and the memo is quite frank in saying
that Iraqi forces will not be able to take over security there.
Nevertheless, the total number of troops needed to attempt to control the
insurrection in those provinces is a small subset of the total number of
forces deployed right now.
Behind this optimistic forecast, which appears reasonable to us, there lurks
a more gloomy reality. The United States simply doesn't have the troops to
maintain this level of commitment. The United States is rotating divisions
in on a one-year-on, one-year-off basis. The ranks of the National Guard and
reserves -- which, by the way, make up an increasingly large proportion of
the active force -- are particularly thin, as commitments run out and older
men and women with families choose not to re-enlist. Another couple of years
of this, and the ranks of the regular forces would start emptying out.
Even more serious, the United States does not have the ability to deal with
other crises. Within the geopolitical system, Washington reacts to crises.
But should another theater of operations open up, the country would not have
forces needed to deploy. Washington has acknowledged this by dropping the
two-war doctrine, which argues that the United States should be able to
fight two Iraq-size wars simultaneously. That doctrine has been fiction for
a long time, but this is more than just a Pentagon debate over the obvious.
No one would have imagined in the summer of 2001 that U.S. forces would be
fighting a war in Afghanistan, and be deployed in Tajikistan or Uzbekistan.
The United States fights not only with the army it has, but in the theaters
that geopolitics gives it.
The fact is that the United States bit off more than it could chew
militarily in Iraq. The administration did not anticipate the length and
size of the deployment and took no steps to expand the force. That means
that at the current level of commitment, the United States would be wide
open elsewhere if a major war were to break out. The problem is not only
troops -- although that isn't a trivial problem. The problem is the
logistical support system, which has been strained to the limits supporting
forces in Iraq. Many of the anecdotal failures, such as the lack of armoring
for Hummers, happen in all wars. But the frequency of the problems and the
length of time it took to fix them point out the fact that the pipe from the
factory to the battlefield in Iraq was not sufficiently robust. Supporting
two widely separated, large-scale operations would have been beyond U.S.
That fact is of overriding concern to the United States. U.S. grand strategy
assumes that the United States is capable of projecting force into Eurasia,
as a deterrent to regional hegemons. At this point, that capability simply
doesn't exist. The United States can sustain operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and maybe squeeze out a few brigades for operations
elsewhere -- but that's all she wrote.
That puts the United States in the most dangerous position it has been in
since before World War II. During Korea and Vietnam, the United States was
able to deploy a substantial force in Europe as well as capabilities in the
continental United States. Iraq, a smaller war than Vietnam, has, along with
Afghanistan, essentially absorbed U.S. force projection capability. It
cannot deploy a multi-divisional force elsewhere should it be needed. Should
the unexpected happen in Asia or Europe, the United States would lack
military and therefore diplomatic options.
The reason for this is not solely the Bush administration. The forces
created during the 1990s were predicated on assumptions that proved not to
be true. It was assumed that operations other than war, or peacekeeping
operations, would be the dominant type of action. Multi-divisional,
multi-theater operations were not anticipated. The force was shaped to
reflect this belief.
The manner in which Bush chose to fight the war against the jihadists
involved the invasion of Iraq using a conventional, multi-divisional thrust.
The Bush administration took a calculated risk that this concentration of
force could deal with the Iraq situation before another theater opened up.
So far, the administration has been lucky. Despite having miscalculated the
length of time of the war, no other theater except Afghanistan has become
active enough to require forces to deploy.
But a lucky gambler should not stay at the table indefinitely. What the Mail
memo is saying is that the administration is going to take some chips off
the table in 2006 -- more than 100,000 chips. The importance of the drawdown
is that it will allow the force some rest. But it still assumes that there
will be no threats in Eurasia that the United States would have to respond
to until 2007 at the earliest, and ideally not before 2008. That may be
true, but given the history of the second half of the twentieth century, it
is pushing the odds.
The strategic analysis about Iraq may well be sound. However, the MNF-I is
fighting the drawdowns because it knows how fragile the political situation
behind this analysis is. The debate will be framed in terms of the
conditions in Iraq. But that is not, in our view, the primary driver behind
plans for withdrawal. The driver is this: The United States simply cannot
sustain the level of commitment it has made in Iraq without stripping itself
of force-projection capabilities.
Given the fact that it is now obvious that the Bush administration is not
going to undertake a substantial military buildup, it really has only two
choices: Maintain its current posture and hope for the best, or draw down
the forces in Iraq and hope for the best. The Iraq command, viewing Iraq,
has chosen the first course. The Pentagon, looking at the world, is looking
at the second. There are dangers inherent in both, but at this point, Iraq
is becoming the lesser threat.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 13, 2005, 12:40:42 AM
"All kinds of hypocrisy remained unchallenged. In my world of liberal London, social success at the dinner table belonged to the man who could simultaneously maintain that we've got it coming but that nothing was going to come; that indiscriminate murder would be Tony Blair's fault but there wouldn't be indiscriminate murder because 'the threat' was a phantom menace invented by Blair to scare the cowed electorate into supporting him."
Sunday July 10, 2005
Face up to the truth
We all know who was to blame for Thursday's murders... and it wasn't Bush and Blair
by Nick Cohen
The instinctive response of a significant portion of the rich world's
intelligentsia to the murder of innocents on 11 September was anything but robust. A few, such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, were delighted. The
destruction of the World Trade Centre was 'the greatest work of art
imaginable for the whole cosmos,' declared the composer whose tin ear failed to catch the screams.
Others saw it as a blow for justice rather than art. They persuaded
themselves that al-Qaeda was made up of anti-imperialist insurgents who were avenging the wrongs of the poor. 'The great speculators wallow in an economy that every year kills tens of millions of people with poverty, so what is 20,000 dead in New York?' asked Dario Fo. Rosie Boycott seemed to agree. 'The West should take the blame for pushing people in Third World countries to the end of their tether,' she wrote.
In these bleak days, it's worth remembering what was said after September 2001. A backward glance shows that before the war against the Taliban and long before the war against Saddam Hussein, there were many who had determined that 'we had it coming'. They had to convince themselves that Islamism was a Western creation: a comprehensible reaction to the International Monetary Fund or hanging chads in Florida or whatever else was agitating them, rather than an autonomous psychopathic force with reasons of its own. In the years since, this manic masochism has spread like bindweed and strangled leftish and much conservative thought.
All kinds of hypocrisy remained unchallenged. In my world of liberal London, social success at the dinner table belonged to the man who could
simultaneously maintain that we've got it coming but that nothing was going to come; that indiscriminate murder would be Tony Blair's fault but there wouldn't be indiscriminate murder because 'the threat' was a phantom menace invented by Blair to scare the cowed electorate into supporting him.
I'd say the 'power of nightmares' side of that oxymoronic argument is too
bloodied to be worth discussing this weekend and it's better to stick with
the wider delusion.
On Thursday, before the police had made one arrest, before one terrorist
group had claimed responsibility, before one body had been carried from the wreckage, let alone been identified and allowed to rest in peace, cocksure voices filled with righteousness were proclaiming that the real murderers weren't the real murderers but the Prime Minister. I'm not thinking of George Galloway and the other saluters of Saddam, but of upright men and women who sat down to write letters to respectable newspapers within minutes of hearing the news.
'Hang your head in shame, Mr Blair. Better still, resign - and whoever takes over immediately withdraw all our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan,' wrote the Rev Mike Ketley, who is a vicar, for God's sake, but has no qualms about leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban and al-Qaeda or Iraq to the Baath party and al-Qaeda. 'Let's stop this murder and put on trial those criminals who are within our jurisdiction,' began Patrick Daly of south London in an apparently promising letter to the Independent. But, inevitably, he didn't mean the bombers. 'Let's start with the British government.'
And so it went on. At no point did they grasp that Islamism was a
reactionary movement as great as fascism, which had claimed millions of
mainly Muslim lives in the Sudan, Iran, Algeria and Afghanistan and is
claiming thousands in Iraq. As with fascism, it takes a resolute
dunderheadedness to put all the responsibility on democratic governments for its existence.
I feel the appeal, believe me. You are exasperated with the manifold faults
of Tony Blair and George W Bush. Fighting your government is what you know how to do and what you want to do, and when you are confronted with totalitarian forces which are far worse than your government, the easy solution is to blame your government for them.
But it's a parochial line of reasoning to suppose that all bad, or all good,
comes from the West - and a racist one to boot. The unavoidable consequence is that you must refuse to support democrats, liberals, feminists and socialists in the Arab world and Iran who are the victims of Islamism in its Sunni and Shia guises because you are too compromised to condemn their persecutors.
Islamism stops being an ideology intent on building an empire from Andalusia to Indonesia, destroying democracy and subjugating women and becomes, by the magic of parochial reasoning, a protest movement on a par with Make Poverty History or the TUC.
Again, I understand the appeal. Whether you are brown or white, Muslim,
Christian, Jew or atheist, it is uncomfortable to face the fact that there
is a messianic cult of death which, like European fascism and communism
before it, will send you to your grave whatever you do. But I'm afraid
that's what the record shows.
The only plausible excuse for 11 September was that it was a protest against America's support for Israel. Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden's statements revealed that he was obsessed with the American troops defending Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein and had barely said a word about Palestine.
After the Bali bombings, the conventional wisdom was that the Australians
had been blown to pieces as a punishment for their government's support for Bush. No one thought for a moment about the Australian forces which stopped Indonesian militias rampaging through East Timor, a small country Indonesia had invaded in 1975 with the backing of the US. Yet when bin Laden spoke, he said it was Australia's anti-imperialist intervention to free a largely Catholic population from a largely Muslim occupying power which had bugged him.
East Timor was a great cause of the left until the Australians made it an
embarrassment. So, too, was the suffering of the victims of Saddam, until
the tyrant made the mistake of invading Kuwait and becoming America's enemy. In the past two years in Iraq, UN and Red Cross workers have been massacred, trade unionists assassinated, school children and aid workers kidnapped and decapitated and countless people who happened to be on the wrong bus or on the wrong street at the wrong time paid for their mistake with their lives.
What can the survivors do? Not a lot according to a Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He told bin Laden that the northern Kurds may be Sunni but 'Islam's voice has died out among them' and they'd been infiltrated by Jews. The southern Shia were 'a sect of treachery' while any Arab, Kurd, Shia or Sunni who believed in a democratic Iraq was a heretic.
Our options are as limited When Abu Bakr Bashir was arrested for the Bali
bombings, he was asked how the families of the dead could avoid the fate of their relatives. 'Please convert to Islam,' he replied. But as the past 40
years have shown, Islamism is mainly concerned with killing and oppressing Muslims.
In his intervention before last year's American presidential election, bin
Laden praised Robert Fisk of the Independent whose journalism he admired. 'I consider him to be neutral,' he said, so I suppose we could all resolve not to take the tube unless we can sit next to Mr Fisk. But as the killings are indiscriminate, I can't see how that would help and, in any case, who wants to be stuck on a train with an Independent reporter?
There are many tasks in the coming days. Staying calm, helping the police
and protecting Muslim communities from neo-Nazi attack are high among them. But the greatest is to resolve to see the world for what it is and remove the twin vices of wilful myopia and bad faith which have disfigured too much liberal thought for too long.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / June Gathering photos...
on: July 12, 2005, 05:19:15 PM
Apart from the fact that we tend not to attract high risk group members,
the fights usually stop when blood makes an appearance-- for the obvious reasons. The seemingly gory shot seen here was done through the fencing mask by a stick shot. We stopped the fight when we saw the blood through the fencing mask and as best as I can tell the opponent had absolutely zero exposure to the blood. The blood you see here is after the man had moved to the sidelines and the blood had a chance to accumulate. It is worth noting that the recipient was not at all stunned, but the nature of scalp cuts is that sometimes a lot of blood comes out.
BTW, I think it fair to call what we do "fighting" and not "sparring"-- JMHO
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: July 12, 2005, 12:30:15 PM
July 12, 2005
The Iraqi Wars
Our 15-year conflict with Iraq.
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
Iraq is a blur now. Everyone from Norman Schwarzkopf and General Zinni to Tommy Franks and General Abezaid is mixed up in our memories. The public can't quite separate Baathists from jihadists, Shiite from Sunni, or one coalition from another. Mostly the confusion arises because we have compressed four separate wars of two decades into some vague continuum.
War I (January 17 to March 3, 1991)
The First Iraqi War ("The Gulf War," "Persian Gulf War," "Gulf War I," "The Four-Day War," or "Iraqi-Kuwaiti War") started over Saddam Hussein's August 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait. His occupation precipitated the American-led coalition's efforts to reclaim Kuwait through land and air attacks. Saddam's complete capitulation was seen as satisfying the war's professed claim of restoring the sovereignty of Kuwait.
But despite retreating from Kuwait and suffering terrible damage to his armed forces, Saddam, like the Germans in 1918, claimed that his armies had been repelled while on the offensive. So he passed off a setback as a draw against the world's superpower ? and thus a win by virtue of his own survival against overwhelming odds.
In any case, we called off our forces before the destruction of the Republican Guard. We also refused to go to Baghdad; we let rebellious Shiites and Kurds be tragically butchered; and we failed to enforce all the surrender agreements. Apparently the U.S. wished to bow to the U.N. mandates only to expel Saddam from Kuwait, or was worried about our Sunni partners who wanted a lid on Kurdish tribalism and Shiite fervor inside Iraq.
War I was a response to years of appeasement of Iraq, American mixed signals during the Iran-Iraq War, and clumsy diplomacy. All may have given Saddam the message that his invasion of Kuwait was outside the realm of American interest.
War II (March 1991 to March 2003)
A rather different 13-year Second Iraqi War followed. Despite its length, the nebulous effort was not a mere "cold war."
Indeed, there was far more direct engagement with our adversary than was true during our half-century conflict with the Soviet Union. For example, after the December 1998 "Desert Fox" campaign ? aimed at suspected WMD depots following Saddam's expulsion of the U.N. inspectors ? General Zinni speculated that perhaps thousands of Iraqi soldiers had been killed in a few hours.
So-called "no-fly zones" took away two-thirds of Iraq's airspace, requiring more than a third of a million allied air sorties. In many years, about every third day, allied aircraft fired missiles or conducted bomb attacks against Iraqi planes or batteries.
A U.N. trade embargo, coupled with the scandalous Oil-for-Food program, starved thousands of Iraqi civilians. Saddam, with foreign help, siphoned off cash and food for his own Baathist cronies.
Despite U.N. inspectors, bombs, cruise missiles, embargos, and boycotts, the second war, like the first, ended with Saddam still in power. He remained defiant, insisting that he had taken on the world and survived every conceivable coercive measure with his petrodollar income and rigid control over the country intact.
War II was a response to the failure to remove Saddam in War I.
War III (March 20 to April 9, 2003)
The Third Iraqi War ? variously known as "Gulf War II" or "The Three-Week War" ? was a conventional conflict. It began with the bombing of Baghdad and ended with the toppling of Saddam's statue. Its purpose, unlike Wars I and II, was the removal of Saddam and his Baathist regime, with replacement by a consensual government.
Controversy surrounds this third war's aims and causes, given the administration's fixation with weapons of mass destruction. Yet the U.S. Senate in October 2002 wisely listed 23 writs for regime change, ranging from fears of WMD, past violations of armistice and U.N. agreements, genocide, attacks on neighboring countries, and attempts to assassinate a former president of the United States.
War III was a response to the failure to remove Saddam in War II.
War IV. (April 2003 to present)
The Fourth Iraqi War ("The Insurrection," "The Occupation") began immediately after the end of the conventional fighting and continues today. It was framed by the fact that the United States would not simply leave after toppling Saddam yet had never really gone into the Sunni Triangle in force during the three-week victory. War IV was waged by a loose alliance of Wahhabi fundamentalists, foreign jihadists, and former Baathists against the American efforts to fashion an indigenous Iraqi democratic government.
So far this fourth war has taken more American lives (roughly 1750 combat dead) than Wars I-III combined, though probably not as many Iraqis have been killed as the tens of thousands lost in the first three conflicts. The aim of the terrorists was either the expulsion of the American occupying forces, the restoration of Saddam Hussein's Baathists, the creation of a Sunni Islamic theocracy, or at least a return to the subjugation of the Kurdish-Shiite majority.
In response, the United States is conducting a multifaceted war to isolate the terrorists in Iraq: empower the Kurds and Shiites; warn Iraqi Sunnis that theirs is a choice between legitimate politics and endless violence and defeat; and promote democracy from the Gulf to Egypt and Lebanon in order to dry up the fonts of al Qaeda that flow into Iraq.
War IV was an effort to ensure there would not be another Saddam and thus more wars like I-III.
What lessons can we learn, other than that Iraq is a Westerner's nightmare ? in the heart of the ancient caliphate, next door to lunocracies in Syria and Iran, with petrodollars to spare for sophisticated weaponry, and with a history of dictatorship as the only alternative to tribal and religious bloodletting?
For all the pundits' talk of "clearly defined objectives" and "exit strategies," in the first three wars we articulated concrete methods and achieved limited aims. Saddam got out of Kuwait (I); Saddam was not able subsequently to attack his neighbors (II); and Saddam was removed (III).
The fourth war is not over, so we are not sure of the eventual outcome of its most ambitious goal, the establishment of democracy. Still, contrary to popular opinion, there have always been clear-cut intentions in these wars, which have been spelled out in advance and until now have been met.
Indeed, the problem has not been meeting the objective, but the objective itself. War I was unfortunately limited to the restoration of Kuwait. Yet the real crux was Saddam's regime itself, which invaded Kuwait, attacked Israel and Saudi Arabia, and threatened to restart banned weapons programs.
War II, in some ways the longest and most costly of the four conflicts in terms of human misery on the ground, likewise failed to address the real issue. The nature of Saddam's despotism ? not just broken agreements, mockery of the U.N., or subsequent plots ? was the source of the problem.
War III sought to remedy the failings of Wars I and II, and did so in the sense of removing Saddam and his Baathist regime. But it too was na?ve in thinking Saddam's rule was limited to a few Baathist henchmen rather than being composed of a large fascist infrastructure ? with alliances of convenience with jihadist terrorists ? that suffered comparatively little during the three weeks of fighting other than worry over a loss of its pride.
If we are victorious in War IV, Iraq will be analogous to a Germany, Japan, or Panama and pose no further problem. If we fail, it will be similar to Vietnam or Lebanon. In our defeat we will give up, go home, and probably not return.
There were always problems with public support that limited American options in these four wars and thus explained why we didn't go to Baghdad, turned to a cold war, and are now facing insurgents from Syria and Iran after a relatively quick conventional victory that mostly bypassed the Sunni Triangle.
During War I, the U.S. Senate almost voted to cut off funding while troops were stationed on the front lines. In the latter stages of War II, President Clinton's critics alleged its hot phases were a planned distraction from his impeachment, while our allies undermined sanctions and embargoes, leaving the U.S. and Britain alone to enforce the no-fly zones. The country was torn apart over the March 2003 start of War III, and has been even more divided over War IV. Critics either said we were na?ve in our half-hearted efforts or too bloodthirsty in unleashing violence against the blameless "Iraqi people."
War IV is now unpopular, but that is understandable because it is the costliest in terms of American lives ? and the only one of the four that was not just punitive and thus not fought in a solely conventional manner.
Creating consensual government has proven much harder than freeing Kuwait, taking over Saddam's skies, and toppling his regime ? especially since all of those previous efforts did not really defeat and humble the fascists, and were confined only to our forte of conventional fighting.
In sum, after 15 years we are nearing a showdown with Iraq, since we finally chose to confront the real problem of a fascist autocracy ? the result of Soviet-style Baathism imposed on a tribal society ? recycling petrodollars to wage modern war at the heart of the world's oil reserves and international terrorism.
Just as there was no third war with Germany or second war with Vietnam, there will probably be no fifth war with Iraq. We have finally learned our lesson: Victory or defeat and a change of circumstances ? not breathing spells with dictators, U.N. resolutions, realpolitik truces, no-fly zones, or cruise missiles ? finally end most wars.
Either the conditions that start a war ? in the modern era usually some sort of autocracy that creates mythical grievances and is appeased in its desire for cheap victory ? are resolved or they are not. Iraq War IV will prove that there will be no more Saddams ? or that there will be plenty of them and the United States can't do much about it.
But at least this final war in its ambitious goal to end the cycle is honest, and so will be decisive in the way the other three were not. If War IV is now the costliest for the U.S. and the most controversial of the series, it is because it is for all the marbles and offers a lasting and humane solution ? and every enemy of the United States in the Middle East seems to grasp that far better than we do.
?2005 Victor Davis Hanson
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico
on: July 12, 2005, 12:15:41 AM
!Hijole! !Otra vez en ingles! Comentarios?
Mexico: The New Generation of 'Revolutionary' Militants
July 11, 2005 20 04 GMT
A faction of the Mexican militant group Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) has claimed responsibility for the July 7 killing in Acapulco of Jose Ruben Robles Catalan, former secretary of Guerrero state. The faction, which appears to be a younger, more militant EPR offshoot, is out to make a name for itself.
The Nation is First (LPEP) faction of Mexico's Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) took responsibility July 11 for the assassination of Jose Ruben Robles Catalan, a former Guerrero state secretary who was shot nine times outside an Acapulco hotel July 7. The group also said it would continue to target those it believes were responsible for the 1995 deaths of 17 farmers in the Guerrero town of Aguas Blancas. Former Gov. Ruben Figueroa, prosecutor Antonio Alcocer, police chief Gustavo Olea and Figueroa's political ally Hector Vicario Castrejon were specifically named as targets.
Founded in 1964, the EPR remained a low-level threat in Guerrero until the mid-1990s, when the Aguas Blancas massacre and other violence in Guerrero provoked expanded recruitment efforts by a new generation of EPR militants to bring more radical members into the fold. Since the EPR resurfaced, its main tactics have been sporadic drive-by shootings or grenades tossed at police stations, mostly around the Acapulco tourist area. One such incident occurred as recently as June 28, the 10th anniversary of the Aguas Blancas incident. The appearance of the LPEP faction and its new tactics nine days after such a lackluster anniversary attack suggests that not everyone in the EPR is content with the group's current status.
The EPR fissure most likely divides the old-guard leadership, whose members are now in their mid- to late-50s, and a generation of fighters in their 20s who joined during Mexico's political turmoil in the 1990s. The LPEP -- which takes its name from a quote by Vicente Guerrero, Mexico's second president and namesake of the state -- likely is controlled by the younger generation. This faction will seek to first increase the capabilities and notoriety of the EPR within Guerrero and other southern Mexican states such as Oaxaca and Chiapas in hopes of making the group a force across Mexico. The group also likely will try to raise its profile in Mexico state and the federal district surrounding Mexico City.
Should the EPR-LPEP manage to kill other targets, the Mexican army likely will crack down in Guerrero, and possibly Oaxaca and Chiapas. This could generate more political violence in Mexico's poor south and alienate other armed opposition groups throughout the area, such as the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas. Regional destabilization on that scale could indeed be an EPR objective.
The killing of Robles Catalan, however, does not indicate that the EPR is capable of significantly threatening Mexican security. Although there were reports in December 2004 that the EPR had been agitating Mexico City slum residents to participate in a larger, countrywide campaign of militancy, Stratfor has said, and continues to believe, that the EPR poses no credible threat to the capital. The increasing violence of the LPEP faction should warrant more precaution from foreign tourists, however, just in case the EPR-LPEP begins kidnapping people for political reasons.
If the LPEP is successful in assassinating another one of its targets, it could garner enough publicity to more effectively expand its operations, perhaps even to establish a base in Mexico City. Until then, however, the EPR and its factions will remain a localized threat within Guerrero, mainly to Figueroa and his old partners.
y, desde Diciembre
The Real Threat of Violence in Mexico City
December 27, 2004 15 45 GMT
Mexico City's governor has discredited an intelligence report allegedly written by his public security chief that links a small militant group from Guerrero state to crimes in the capital. Although the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) militant group exists, and may be proselytizing politically in Mexico City's slums, the group does not have the urban tactical capabilities to engage in politically motivated violence. Mexico City residents and visitors face far greater threats from ordinary criminals and corrupt cops than from EPR militants.
Mexican Federal District Gov. Manuel Lopez Obrador has denied a report in the Mexico City daily Reforma that says cells of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) militant group are operating in Mexico City, saying there is "no evidence" of such activity. Separately, Public Security Secretary Joel Ortega denied that his office had written a 21-page report -- on which the Reforma article allegedly was based -- claiming that the EPR is actively recruiting and raising funds in Mexico City's poor slums, and has staged bank robberies and kidnappings in the capital. Federal District chief prosecutor Bernardo Batiz said "not a single crime" in Mexico City has been attributed to the EPR.
Lopez Obrador, Ortega and Batiz stopped short of claiming the Reforma report is false. Reforma managing editors said the newspaper stands by its Dec. 22 report. It is possible that the alleged report is, in fact, a real official document prepared in secret by the federal district's public security secretariat. However, its assertion that the EPR is involved in violent criminal activities in the state of Mexico and the federal district likely is inaccurate. EPR forces do not directly threaten residents and visitors in Mexico City. The real threat of violent crime comes from ordinary criminals, professional kidnappers and bank robbers that flourish thanks to the incapacity of an inefficient, undermanned, poorly commanded and frequently corrupt police force.
The alleged Public Security Secretariat document reportedly was prepared several days after two undercover police officers were beaten and burned to death in a poor Mexico City neighborhood by an angry mob that mistook the police officers for child kidnappers. The report makes no mention of this particular incident, although some news media had hinted that police officers in the area had the EPR under surveillance in the area at the time.
According to Reforma, the report states that the EPR's presence has been detected in eight Federal District municipalities and seven municipalities in the state of Mexico. The Federal District municipalities reportedly include Iztapalapa, Gustavo Madero, Xochimilco, Alvaro Obregon, Tlalpan, Magdalena Contreras, Cuajimalpa and also Tlahualc, where the two police officials were murdered Nov. 23. The Mexico state municipalities are Nezahualcoyotl, Ecatepec, Naucalpan, Tlalnepantla, Ixtapaluca, Chimalhuacan and Los Reyes.
The report also states that the EPR is raising funds by carrying out ransom kidnappings and bank robberies in the Federal District. However, Batiz emphatically dismissed any connection between the EPR and crimes such as kidnapping and bank robbery in Mexico City. These crimes, he said, involve "common criminals that start hijacking vehicles, assaulting people and then ascend to kidnapping. We have not found any link between these crimes and any armed guerrilla groups.
Lopez Obrador and his leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) are seen as leading contenders to win the presidency of Mexico in the 2006 national elections. President Vicente Fox's National Action Party (PAN) and the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) have a strong interest in undermining Lopez Obrador's electoral prospects. Between now and the 2006 elections both the PAN and PRI repeatedly will seek to bring Lopez Obrador's political star down by linking him to corruption or portraying him as a weak leader. Confirming the EPR's active presence in the federal district could be pitched as a sign of weakness that renders Lopez Obrador unfit for the presidency. This may explain why Lopez Obrador led the charge to discredit and dismiss the alleged report prepared by his own public security chief.
The EPR is the military wing of the Democratic Popular Revolutionary Party (PDPR), a small regional militant organization based in the southern state of Guerrero. The EPR officially announced its existence in June 1996 in the community of Aguas Blancas in Guerrero, where it declared war against the country's ruling economic and political elites and called for an armed Marxist-Leninist revolution and the creation of a centrally planned socialist state. However, the EPR is not a new revolutionary movement in Mexico.
The EPR was originally founded in 1964 in Guerrero, during the early years of the Cuban Revolution. It initially emerged as an armed response by poor landless peasants against wealthy local landowners and politicians in Guerrero state. However, although the EPR has killed close to two dozen people since mid-1996 and has conducted small-scale attacks in several southern and central states against military and police outposts, public buildings and power stations, it has never threatened Mexican national security.
The EPR mainly is a very low-level threat in Guerrero state, where its armed actions have involved local landowners and political strongmen with ties to the opposition PRI, which ruled the country for seven decades until Fox became president in 2000. Its presence in such activities has been detected in at least eight states since 1996. This means it is possible that EPR activists are proselytizing politically in poor Mexico City slums. The group has been seeking for years to establish a political presence inside the country's capital region.
However, the EPR does not currently have the manpower, weaponry, organization and tactical capability to conduct offensive operations against targets in Mexico City. It is even less likely that EPR cells are engaged in bank robberies and ransom kidnappings in the country's capital. Federal and local law enforcement officials in the Mexico state and the federal district are certain that professional criminals -- not armed political militants -- perpetrate the frequent kidnappings and bank robberies in Mexico City. These officials point out that the EPR is a rural-based insurgency, not an urban militant group. Stratfor agrees.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: July 11, 2005, 05:44:54 PM
Report: Radical Kuwaiti Imams Drowned Out in Pro-American Protests by Local Worshippers
From the Al-Siyasah newspaper (received June 6):
"The Imam of al-Jabiriyah preached against the Americans and the Worshippers shouted 'O' Allah, make America stronger!"
"The Al-Siyasah newspaper has received news that several mosques in Kuwait have begun to exhibit a new phenomenon manifested in the rejection by worshippers of extremist prayers expressed by some of the Imams during their Khutbah [friday prayer]. These prayers included invitations to fight the Americans and to become more hostile towards them. An example of this [phenomenon] was when Nabil al-Awadi, who is an Imam at one of the mosques in the southern region of Al-Surrah, began preaching against the Americans in his last Friday Khutbah. As a result, the people at prayer cut off his speech and demanded that he stop talking. Additionally, the worshippers at the mosque of Aisha Shabib in the Al-Jabiriyah neighborhood shouted, 'O' Allah, make Islam and America stronger' in response to what the Imam of that mosque had said during friday prayer about America and the current war [in Iraq]."
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Charles Kangas: Sayoc Kali 7/30-31 in Signal Hill
on: July 11, 2005, 03:25:03 PM
My local Sayoc instructor Travis Downing writes me:
"We'll be having Guro Charles Kangas out for a Sayoc Kali Seminar this month. Guro Charles is a Level 4 Associate instructor and the sponsor for the LA area Sayoc Training Group. This is a great chance to get started for those of you wanting an introduction to Sayoc Kali. The Saturday session is open to the public. Sunday is Sayoc members only and public with special permission. Contact us at 562-492-6951 if you have any further questions."
I've trained with Charles before and will be there for the Sunday session. "Nuff said!
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / London hit by multiple explosions
on: July 09, 2005, 01:06:30 PM
The London Bombings: A Local Cell at Work?
Four bombs exploded in London's transportation system during the morning rush hour July 7, three striking the Underground commuter rail system and another tearing the top off of a double-decker bus. Scotland Yard has confirmed that 37 people died as a result of the blasts and that hundreds are injured, although estimates of the death toll reach higher than 50.
According to Scotland Yard, the first explosion occurred at 8:51 a.m. local time, 100 yards into the Underground tunnel from the Liverpool Street station, killing seven people. The second explosion occurred five minutes later on the Piccadilly Line heading north from Russell Square Station to King's Cross Station, killing 21 people. The third explosion took place at 9:17 a.m. as the train arrived at the Edgeware Road Station. That bomb exploded as two trains passed each other, blowing holes in both trains and at least one other train in the station. A total of five people died in that explosion. Half an hour later, a bomb detonated on the upper deck of the No. 205 bus near Upper Logan Square, killing perhaps 20 people.
Reports also circulated that several unexploded devices, or "duds," were found, including one at the Baker Street Station and another at Stockwell Square. Law enforcement sources said all but one of these were, in fact, only "suspicious items" that will be destroyed, though law enforcement personnel believe one is a real improvised explosive device.
The presence of decontamination tents and personnel wearing HazMat clothing at the bomb sites raised concerns that the attackers might have attempted to detonate a "dirty bomb," although these steps are taken as a precaution and are part of standard response procedures.
Given the number of devices involved in these attacks, British forensic investigators should be able to get to the bottom of the blasts, because each bomb -- exploded or not -- leaves valuable pieces of evidence. Forensic examination will also be important in this case to determine if there is any relation to the March 2004 Madrid train bombings. The sophistication of the bombmaker and the method of deployment also will come to light.
As of now, the kind of bombs used in the attacks is unclear, although the possibilities include command-detonated suicide bombers, command-detonated improvised explosive devices or timed explosive devices. We can assume, however, that we are dealing with devises -- and detonators -- rigged out of ingredients available on the open market, because the sale of bomb-making ingredients such as dynamite and gunpowder is tightly controlled in Britain, due to the country's history with the Irish Republican Army. The use of improvised detonators, which are not as reliable as industrially manufactured hardware, would explain the reports of multiple failures. Most improvised or homemade explosive mixtures would not be as powerful as the commercial-grade material used in the Madrid attacks.
Investigators will study the timing of the Underground blasts -- and reports that the explosions occurred as the trains pulled into stations -- as one method of determining the type of bombs used. The fact that the bombings appear to have been coordinated suggests that multiple perpetrators are involved -- mainly because it would have been impossible for one person to have planted all of the devices. It is possible that someone planted timed explosives on the trains, knowing the general time needed to travel between stations, though they risked having the bombs go off at the wrong time if a train was delayed.
The attackers could have used command-detonated bombs in order to guarantee a more precise detonation time and increase the number of casualties in the stations. If the devices were command-detonated, they probably did not use a cellular telephone as a trigger, because cellular phones typically do not work inside the London Underground system. Another possibility is that suicide bombers exploded their devices at predetermined times.
The attack likely was carried out by a cell of locals living in London and working with an operational planner and/or bombmaker from outside the country. The planner and/or bombmaker (one person often performs both jobs) probably arrived in Britain several weeks or a few months before the attack in order to plan the operation and manufacture the devices. After the attacks, this person most likely boarded a plane and left the country, ultimately to return to a location in the Middle East or South Asia. It is a practice of many jihadist organizations, al Qaeda in particular, to use mid-level operatives to set up cells throughout the world for the purpose of conducting attacks.
Within the context of the London Underground attacks, the bombing of the bus near Upper Logan Square is an anomaly, suggesting the bus was not originally a target. Compared to the other bombs, which detonated within a few minutes of one other, the device on the bus went off a half hour after the last explosion. One possible explanation for this is that it was a secondary bomb meant to cause casualties among people evacuating the Underground stations following the earlier explosions. Another possibility is that the bomber assigned to carry out one of the attacks got cold feet at the last minute or for some reason felt that his mission was compromised. Rather than risk capture, the bomber might have left the device on the bus that was taking him to his intended target. Left unattended, a failsafe timer on the device could have caused the detonation. It also is possible that a last-minute change of plans left the terrorists with an extra bomb, and it was decided just to leave it where it would cause casualties.
A group calling itself the Secret Organization of al Qaeda in Europe claimed responsibly for these attacks on a jihadist Web site July 7, although this claim obviously has not been verified. Because al Qaeda's ability to conduct major operations has been called into question in recent months, the leadership might have felt the need to conduct a large-scale attack in order to prove the network still is capable of causing harm to the West.
Following the attacks, U.S. authorities tightened security in the New York and Washington, D.C., subway systems, while the Department of Homeland Security raised the threat level for transportation from Yellow to Orange. If al Qaeda carried out the London attacks, the network is probably incapable of conducting similar operations in the near future, given its diminished capability. By the time the terrorists are ready to strike again, security will likely have relaxed.
The London Bombings: Who, Why, and What Happens Next
The July 7 bombings in London were likely carried out by an al Qaeda cell hoping to draw attention and credibility back to the jihadist organization. British Prime Minister Tony Blair will face increasing pressure after the attacks, particularly regarding his Iraq policy, and relations between U.K. internal security and "Londonistan" are likely to change in coming days.
A series of bomb attacks severely disrupted the London and southeast England transport network during midmorning rush hour July 7. At least 37 people died and hundreds were injured during the attacks. A previously unheard-of group calling itself "Secret Organization of al Qaeda in Europe" claimed responsibility for the bombings on its Web site, but Stratfor and Western intelligence agencies consider that claim to be dubious at best. However, the scale and nature of the attacks -- targeting crowded trains and the bus system -- indicates that a group with significant preparations is responsible, and Stratfor believes al Qaeda itself, and not the previously unknown group, carried out the bombings. The attacks are similar to the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which al Qaeda was found to be behind.
If al Qaeda did in fact carry out the London attacks, it adds to the organization's credibility as a still-functioning force able to make its presence known in the major capitals of the world. Striking London while the Group of Eight (G-8) summit has the world focused on the United Kingdom takes not only operational security and organization but also a fair amount of impudence. The relationship between U.K. internal security services and London's often-radical Muslim community is likely to change, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair can expect to face intensifying public pressure.
Four confirmed attacks took place in London. The first explosion occurred at 8:51 a.m. London time on a Circle Line train traveling westbound from Aldgate Station, when the train was 100 yards away from its destination at Liverpool Street Station. Liverpool Street is a major local transport hub that contains a National Rail station serving southeast England. The Circle Line is a shallow "cut-and-cover" line, on which it could be possible to receive a cellular phone signal -- a common method of detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- since the top part of the tunnel is above ground level. However, it is unclear whether mobile communication signal reception is reliable anywhere in the train system.
The second explosion took place five minutes later on a Piccadilly Line train heading north from Russell Square to King's Cross Station. King's Cross is a vital National Rail hub for trains going to northern and eastern Britain and is also a major Underground and local transport interchange. The Piccadilly Line is a deep-tunnel subway route, where it would be more difficult to send or receive mobile communications -- indicating that the bomb on this train was detonated by a timer.
The third blast, at 9:17 a.m. London time, occurred on the Hammersmith and City Line coming from Edgware Road toward Paddington Station. The bomb exploded as trains passed, blasting a hole in a wall and damaging at least one and possibly two other trains. Paddington is a major National Rail station serving southwestern England and Wales, and the Edgware Road station area contains London's high-security Paddington Green police station and a large Muslim population. The Hammersmith and City Line is another shallow "cut-and-cover" line, where mobile communications could be possible.
The upper deck of a double-decker bus running Route No. 205 near Tavistock Square, near the Russell Street underground station, was hit in the fourth explosion, which took place at 9:47 a.m. London time. Scotland Yard initially reported an unknown number of fatalities in this blast.
Following the blasts, U.K. mobile network operators reported problems related to high call volume but denied that the government had asked them to discontinue service; such a request would have indicated that authorities thought command-detonated devices were used. Some calls placed to London mobile numbers were successful by 3:30 p.m. London time. Bus services in the London area were set to resume by 4 p.m., though the Underground is scheduled to remain closed until the morning of July 8. National Rail services, excepting King's Cross, resumed.
Security alerts went out in other countries shortly after the bombings. Germany's Deutsche Bahn AG upped security on all its trains and stations, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the national security threat level to orange for all mass transit facilities in the country. Both of these alerts were meant to give a sense of action, but were equivalent to closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. There was no credible intelligence that follow-on attacks were imminent, but the alerts went out to make people feel that something had been done to ensure their safety. Meanwhile, in the world markets, crude oil prices dropped because of the prospect of an economic slowdown brought about by the attacks.
Several unexploded or non-functional IEDs reportedly were found in the London Underground shortly after the blasts, but authorities said later that the suspected IEDs were only suspicious objects that would be detonated. One suspicious item was reportedly found at Baker Street, and another at Stockwell Square. Authorities are treating suspicious packages with extreme caution, and it is unclear how many -- if any -- were actually explosive. Though reports of undetonated IEDs could be false alarms, the discovery of unexploded devices would be a boon to understanding the anatomy of the attacks. Analysts could see what type of explosives were used -- and possibly figure out where the explosives might have been acquired -- and see what kind of detonator was used. Tracing the elements of an unexploded IED would take much less time than sifting through the remains of an exploded device. After the Madrid 2004 train bombings, Spanish authorities were able to identify the terrorists based on the cell phone they found attached to an unexploded bomb.
Multiple people would have to have been involved in planting bombs on the Underground lines, if indeed the bombs were either timer- or remote-detonated. Based on the bombs' locations and the directions in which they were traveling, it is unlikely that all of the attackers entered the Underground system from a central location near Russell Square or King's Cross. The attackers instead likely coordinated their bombings from different points in the city. If the attacks follow the Madrid model, the perpetrators planted the bombs on the trains and fled the scene. However, U.K. authorities have not yet ruled out the possibility that the attacks were suicide bombings, though this seems less likely.
It seems that only a well-prepared group with significant operational security would be able to carry out citywide attacks in short succession on infrastructure that could have a serious economic impact and a high casualty rate. Because London has been the recent hub of al Qaeda cell operations in Europe, Stratfor believes that the strikes were likely perpetrated by an al Qaeda cell, using either recruits from the local Islamist community or recent immigrants taking advantage of central London's large Muslim population. There have been recent reports of internal debates among London's Muslim clerics about whether or not U.K. residents should be allowed to stage attacks in the country. That the methods used in the attacks are similar to standard al Qaeda methods suggests that a ringleader or bomb maker -- perhaps one person serving in both capacities -- was brought in to coordinate the attacks.
Al Qaeda would have sufficient motive to carry out such an attack. As U.S. and coalition forces continue battling jihadist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, al Qaeda appears to have become less effective. Periodic major attacks -- such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City and the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid -- help the jihadist network reassert itself and lend it a certain measure of credibility. Such credibility is necessary for its continued survival and for its recruiting operations. Ultimately, al Qaeda seeks to show the power of the Islamic world and the vulnerability of the United States and its allies. The audacious timing of the attacks -- during the G-8 summit -- brings this point home. Furthermore, the timing of the London bombings matches the 18- to 24-month operational cycle for major al Qaeda attacks.
Attacking during the G-8 summit will certainly draw attention to al Qaeda, if the organization did indeed carry out the London bombings. Still, the scale of the attacks represents a diminished power, and it could indicate that al Qaeda is in decline.
But whatever the implications for al Qaeda, the political timing for the attacks puts pressure on both the British government and its security infrastructure. Security attention had been focused well north of London this week in coordination with the G-8 summit, where Blair was pushing debt relief and climate-change action. Blair has faced ferocious domestic opposition, especially from the left and from Muslim communities, over his support for the Iraq war. This opposition is likely to increase after the London bombings, especially because of one piece of information: Unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that Israel had warned the U.K. government several days prior to the bombings that such an attack was imminent. Not wishing to disrupt the G-8 summit or spoil celebrations over London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, the British government sat on the information and hoped it was a false alarm.
The short-term U.K. response to the attacks will almost certainly involve a shift in relations between British internal security services and London's sizeable -- and often radical -- Muslim population, which was subject to intense racial tensions during the last U.K. election cycle. MI5 has taken a light hand with "Londonistan," believing for the most part that local clerics had no significantly threatening connections with international terrorist organizations. That approach is likely to change. The response in the United Kingdom in coming days could set the tone for the larger European debate over Muslim immigration as both a security and cultural threat. Possibly hoping to head off the worst of a backlash, the Muslim Council of Great Britain has already issued a statement condemning the "evil" London attacks.
In the meantime, Blair will face continuing and intensifying questions about the future of his tenure, with Labor backbenchers increasingly willing to demand that he hand over power to popular Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown. Blair will have to make some visible change to his Iraq policy in response to these events -- though that does not necessarily mean an actual weakening of the British presence in Iraq. It is unclear whether or not the British public will offer an anti-government, anti-war backlash such as that in Spain after the Madrid attacks; it is not out of the question that the London attacks could simply strengthen the U.K. government's resolve on the Iraq issue.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest
on: July 08, 2005, 02:46:39 AM
Assured by by a friend of its suitability, I took Conrad to see Batman Begins today.? As my son Conrad has had more exposure to and more conceptual tools for matters concerning aggression than most 5 year old boys (he's 6 August 29).? That said, this movie required all my fathering skills as we watched it together and we will be continuing to discuss it on the long drive home from the Bay area tomorrow. (Friday).
Putting that aside, I would like to say that I thought this was an excellent movie-- and quite unlike the other Batmans-- none of which resonated for me.
In contrast this movie's script operated on several levels including an interesting three way dynamic instead of the usual good versus bad wherein two concepts of justice war with each other as well as with bad.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA in Prescott AZ August 13-14
on: July 08, 2005, 02:15:25 AM
I will be doing my second seminar for noted close quarter gun instructor Gabe Suarez in Prescott on August 13-14. We will be convering Short Impact Weapons.
The seminar will be kept small deliberately-- attendance is limited. In addition to Gabe's people, preference will be given to members of the DBMA Association.
If interested, contact me directly.
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico
on: July 07, 2005, 06:28:06 PM
Un "amigo de internet" se ha escrito:
I've been asked to prepare a risk/threat assessment for a visit to Mexico by a client. Not the capital or any of the major cities, just the tourist spots (Cancun,Xcaret, Tulum, Riviera regions, etc).
I am working on the major details, but just wondered if anyone here had "hard" information/experiences regarding crime levels (both organised gangs and street attacks) as well as no-go areas at these destinations.
Also what is the status regarding personal weapons carry (knife, asp, etc) in Mexico - any ideas.
Any information would be greatly appreciated and a real big help. Thanks in advance.
?Alguien aqui se le puede ayudar?
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / post-Gathering/thank you...
on: July 03, 2005, 08:46:36 PM
I share this post by Pappy Dog from the DBMA Association (DBMAA) forum:
It was the Saturday class after the Gathering. I had taken 3 new guys for their first Gathering fights; a loose band of artist, miscreants, and city workers. You never know how they will react to such an adrenaline dowsed event. Well.... Success. They took to it like a model to an abusive relationship. They kept going back for more. I make no boasts about their skills (although I think they did well). But, they had the lust for fights. So much so I started to feel a little lame for only fighting 2 fights. As I watched one of my guys flying backwards being suplexed: I almost covered my eyes. Like a parent watching his kid climb a tree to the top. I was relieved to see him without hesitation, spin into his oponents guard and begin to throw headbutts. Wow, one grappling lesson paid off. Although, that fire is within each person before even they take a martial arts class. You can't help but feel responsible or proud for their success.
Back to class- The class after the Gathering is usually reserved for boasting, showing scars, and training the more esoterics parts of the art. However, what did these guys want to do? Spar!
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article
on: July 03, 2005, 01:04:29 AM
Island Dog wrote:
"Fascinating stuff. I applaud your efforts in this area."
Tail wags for the kind words. Coming from you, they mean something to me.
For those of you who don't know, when ID is not fighting at a DB Gathering he is often to be found in local cagefighting events which he usually wins. I went up into LA one night to watch him fight and was impressed. One easily forgets that he was doing this in his mid 40s.
"Some personal opinions as I was reading through:
"I believe open guard (with or without a cup) has some very real applications for the street- possibly even more so than closed guard. However, I believe it must be used much more aggressively than is seen by many BJJ players."
The higher the level of the guard, the more I agree. Story: When I was part of a group that Rigan Machado took down to Rio in 1992, I had a private lesson with Renzo Gracie. At first he was giving me a typical lesson for a visiting student, but I managed (respectfully!) to steer things to the question of open guard for the street. He gladly obliged-- and promptly chased me around the room with his open guard. He showed me the kicks from this position-- one of which he was soon to use to drop Oleg Taktaorv.
Also, a bit of trivia, I gave him Paul Vunak's "Headbutt, Elbow and Knees" video. He liked it and used it in a subsequent Vale Tudo fight in Brazil. I have amateur footage of the fight, including him warming up his boxing hands on the focus mitts before the fight-- nice, loosy goosey quality to it.
But I digress , , , If the other man is standing, as was the case in my lesson with Renzo, this can be a very risky range for the standing man. But when he is inside of the thrusting kicks, I think the calculus changes-- especially when the open guard is installed with cup/MMA reflexes.
"My opinion is that the multiple hits per shift of body weight will usually lose out to the single hit concept as seen in boxing or MT. I will be interested to see how it actually plays out."
Here we have different thoughts. This is where I have some of my best success in sparring.
"While I agree with the validity of using the foot work to force the opponent to overextend or to keep him from engaging, I can see it leading to stalling-related penalties in the MMA realm."
I appreciate your point, but 1) most MMA fighters are pretty aggressive and are impatient to engage 2) there most certainly are ways of initiating.
"I definitely like the idea of the triangulation/crashing to close into the clinch/takedown range.
Question: Do you feel that this could also be applied to the wrestling/submission grappling competitive arena?"
In the absence of striking I think it is much harder. For example, good double leg TDs already have two of the three angles of silat, but in the absence of striking I do not see how to get the third angle.
"Another question: Can we expect to see Trigg using any of this stuff in future fights?"
Frank is busy getting ready for his upcoming UFC fight and only got around to watching the pre-release copy I gave him a couple of days ago. There was a twinkle in his eye as he said "Not bad, Marc Denny, not bad at all." I took this as a genuine compliment
I doublt with a fight coming up so soon (especially with this opponent!) he will look to integrate new and freaky material into his game right now. After, who knows?
"I?m looking forward to hearing more of your work in this area and to see it?s application in the realm of MMA competitions. "
Thank you. It is a lot of fun doing the research. Also I am noticing some feedback in my stickfighting. Although I am "retired", I still engage in active sparring with my students to help them get ready.
When I was fighting, from '95 forward, except for my three staff fights with you, I was all double stick. Now I find myself returning to single stick with my KT ideas informing my footwork and my live hand-- I'm scoring some pretty nice shots with it now, whereas before it tended to simply serve as part of muffling things as a step to stickgrappling, which was always a range where I felt confident.
The Adventure continues, , ,
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 01, 2005, 10:09:28 AM
A Police Perspective On Gun Control & Political Correctness
Source: New York State Fraternal Order Of Police 6-29-00
It's amazing what one has to believe to believe in gun control:
That the more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.
That Washington DC's low murder rate of 69 per 100,000 is due to gun
control, and Indianapolis' high murder rate of 9 per 100,000 is due to
the lack of gun control.
That "NYPD Blue" and "Miami Vice" are documentaries.
That an intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if
shot with a .44 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
That firearms in the hands of private citizens are the gravest threat to
world peace, and China, Pakistan and Korea can be trusted with nuclear
That Charlton Heston as president of the NRA is a shill who should be
ignored, but Michael Douglas as a representative of Handgun Control,
Inc. is an ambassador for peace who is entitled to an audience at the UN
arms control summit.
That ordinary people, in the presence of guns, turn into slaughtering
butchers, and revert to normal when the weapon is removed.
That the New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice
about guns, just like Guns and Ammo has some excellent treatises on
That one should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a
civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for spinal paralysis, a
computer programmer for Y2K problems, and Sarah Brady for firearms
That the "right of the people peaceably to assemble," the "right of the
people to be secure in their homes," "enumeration's herein of certain
rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the
people," "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states
respectively, and to the people," refer to individuals, but "the right
of the people to keep and bear arms" refers to the states.
That the 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1787, allows the states to have a
National Guard, created by act of Congress in 1917.
That the National Guard, paid by the federal government, occupying
property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the
federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state
That private citizens can't have handguns, because they serve no militia
purpose, even though the military has hundreds of thousands of them, and
private citizens can't have assault rifles, because they are military
That it is reasonable for California to have a minimum 2 year sentence
for possessing but not using an assault rifle, and reasonable for
California to have a 6 month minimum sentence for raping a female police
That it is reasonable to jail people for carrying but not using guns,
but outrageous to jail people for possessing marijuana.
That minimum sentences violate civil rights, unless it's for possessing
That door-to-door searches for drugs are a gross violation of civil
rights and a sign of fascism, but door-to-door searches for guns are a
reasonable solution to the "gun problem."
That the first amendment absolutely allows child pornography and threats
to kill cops, but doesn't apply to manuals on gun repair.
That Illinois' law that allows any government official from Governor to
dogcatcher to carry a gun is reasonable, and the law that prohibits any
private citizen, even one with 50 death threats on file and a
million-dollar jewelry business, is reasonable. And it isn't a sign of
That free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters,
computers, and typewriters, but self-defense only justifies bare hands.
That gun safety courses in school only encourage kids to commit
violence, but sex education in school doesn't encourage kids to have
That the ready availability of guns today, with only a few government
forms, waiting periods, checks, infringements, ID, and fingerprinting,
is responsible for all the school shootings, compared to the lack of
school shootings in the 1950's and 1960's, which was caused by the
awkward availability of guns at any hardware store, gas station, and by
That we must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a
shooting spree at any time and anyone who owns a gun out of fear of such
a lunatic is paranoid.
That there is too much explicit violence featuring guns on TV, and that
cities can sue gun manufacturers because people aren't aware of the
dangers involved with guns.
That the gun lobby's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign about kids
handling guns is propaganda, and the anti-gun lobby's attempt to run a
"don't touch" campaign is responsible social activity.
That the crime rate in America is decreasing because of gun control and
the increase in crime requires more gun control.
That 100 years after its founding, the NRA got into the politics of guns
from purely selfish motives, and 100 years after the Emancipation
Proclamation, the black civil rights movement was founded from purely
That statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control, and
statistics that show increasing murder rates after gun control are "just
That we don't need guns against an oppressive government, because the
Constitution has internal safeguards, and we should ban and seize all
guns, therefore violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments of that
Constitution, thereby becoming an oppressive government.
That guns are an ineffective means of self defense for rational adults,
but in the hands of an ignorant criminal become a threat to the fabric
That guns are so complex to use that special training is necessary to
use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.
That guns cause crime, which is why there are so many mass slayings at
That guns aren't necessary to national defense, which is why the army
only has 3 million of them.
That banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, and Chicago cops
That the Constitution protects us, so we don't need guns, and can
confiscate them, thereby violating the 5th amendment of that
That women are just as intelligent and capable as men and a woman with a
gun is "an accident waiting to happen".
That women are just as intelligent and capable as men, and gun makers'
advertisements aimed at women are "preying on their fears."
That a handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the
typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has
That a majority of the population supports gun control, just like a
majority of the population used to support owning slaves.
That one should ignore as idiots politicians who confuse Wicca with
Satanism and exaggerate the gay community as a threat to society, but
listen sagely to politicians who can refer to a self-loading small arm
as a "weapon of mass destruction" and an "assault weapon."
That Massachusetts is safer with bans on guns, which is why Teddy
Kennedy has machinegun toting guards.
That most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns,
which most people will abide by, because they can be trusted.
That a woman raped and strangled with her panties is morally superior to
a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
That guns should be banned because of the danger involved, and live
reporting from the battlefield, which can keep the enemy informed of
troop deployments, getting thousands of troops killed and perhaps losing
a war, is a protected act that CANNOT be compromised on.
That the right of online child pornographers to exist cannot be
questioned because it is a constitutionally protected extension of the
Bill of Rights, and the claim that handguns are for self defense is
merely an excuse, and not really protected by the Bill of Rights.
That the ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts
of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts
of the Constitution.
That police operate in groups with backup, which is why they need larger
capacity magazines than civilians, who must face criminals alone, and
therefore need less ammunition.
That we should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns
because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.
That guns have no legitimate use, but alcohol does, which is why we
issue cops beer instead of guns.
That police and soldiers are the dregs of society who were unfit to get
any real job, which perfectly qualifies them with the high moral
standards and keen intellects to handle these complicated tools and be
The article and other similar articles may be found at http://www.2ampd.net/
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: June 30, 2005, 07:08:25 PM
Following up on the PETA dog killing story:
PETA at a Crossroads
Coming soon -- Stratfor will introduce a weekly article on topical public policy issues that we believe you will find timely and relevant to your interests. Following is a sneak preview of what you can expect from this column, written by Bart Mongoven, Stratfor's Vice President, Public Policy. Please watch for more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we look forward to hearing your feedback.
By Bart Mongoven
Two staff members of the Norfolk, Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were arrested in late June, accused of improperly disposing carcasses of animals the organization had euthanized. The incident has generated a swirl of controversy around PETA that carries significant implications for the organization and its cause.
As an animal-rights group, the mere suspicion that PETA might be killing animals is cause enough for attention: One of the group's tenets is that animals enjoy the same right to life as humans do. This position was best summed up by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who famously stated: "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." Like militant opponents of abortion, animal rights activists take an absolutist position and view themselves as warriors in a fight against murder.
But despite its unceasing promotion of animal rights, PETA has now admitted to euthanizing animals -- saying it was the most humane course of action possible in an area where unwanted shelter animals frequently are gassed or shot with rifles.
In contrast to the animal-rights position, euthanasia for animals taken from shelters is a common and accepted practice among animal-welfare activists -- who argue that animals should be treated with dignity, compassion and respect, but do not share the animal-rights groups' position on an animal's "right to life." The United States is home to many large animal-welfare groups that are dedicated to numerous concerns, ranging from the treatment of farm animals, to shelters for unwanted animals, to advocating laws against animal cruelty. Many animal-welfare organizations take pride in the fact that they euthanize some animals when they have determined that methods used by a shelter are less humane than other available options. This approach, however, is offensive to orthodox animal rights activists, who view it as "playing God."
The situation PETA faces is serious. It represents a difficult setback for the group, which is struggling to retain its credibility and relevance amid the growing popularity of more radical -- and sometimes violent -- activist groups. PETA's reaction therefore will ripple throughout the animal-rights activist community and affect the public's view of animal-rights groups and issues.
In styling itself as the country's leading animal-rights organization, PETA has brought animal rights from the farthest fringe of American culture to a place of such prominence that most people know, at least generally, what animal-rights activists believe. PETA achieved this through an array of creative media stunts and by recruiting high-profile celebrities to speak on the organization's behalf. The group hoped that its publicity stunts and occasionally outrageous statements would bring attention to PETA and its message. And its message has always been clear: It is neither moral nor necessary to kill animals for research purposes or to raise them for food, fur or any other form of human consumption -- and society needs to change fundamentally to reflect this truth.
This message has spurred thousands of Americans to embrace animal rights, and for a long time, PETA was the focal organization for these activists. Some fringe groups also were active, but their memberships paled in comparison with PETA's. Most notable among the fringe groups has been the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which maintains a number of small cells that specialize in breaking into laboratories and freeing the animals used in scientific experiments. Despite repeated investigations by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, PETA has never been tied to illegal ALF activities. More to the point, PETA has been careful to avoid endorsing ALF activities or those of other radical groups, choosing instead to steer a difficult middle course.
The recent arrests in North Carolina bring into focus the hazards of this middle course. PETA's traditional message -- "killing is wrong" -- was effective in its simplicity and at the same time neither advocated nor condemned any particular tactical approaches. However, in the immediate wake of the euthanasia discovery, PETA's message (at least for now) is far more nuanced: "Killing animals for human use, food, research or sport is wrong, and killing is acceptable only if it is in the interest of the animal, not convenience." Though this is still a strong message, it lacks the simplicity and clarity that has made PETA so successful -- and it concedes the main point that divides animal-rights groups from the animal-welfare movement.
And here is the crux of the issue for the animal-rights movement as a whole. Even though the euthanasia solution adopted by PETA is characteristic of animal-welfare organizations -- and contrary to animal-rights orthodoxy -- PETA is not an animal-welfare organization and does not want to become one. There are hundreds of animal-welfare organizations vying for a limited pool of donors and members. Each of these groups benefits from the intense light that PETA shines on issues relating to animal cruelty -- but PETA is able to focus this light only by its advocacy of animal rights, not animal welfare.
Even if its work at times reflects animal-welfare values, PETA has carved out a space separate from animal-welfare groups. This delicate position remained tenable so long as PETA's claims to be the nation's foremost animal-rights group went unchallenged. But today, activists who claim they are taking their beliefs in animal rights to a logical extension by using violent tactics are mounting a bid for leadership of the broader movement.
This new style of activism was brought to the United States by a British group, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. SHAC focuses its efforts solely on the animal testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences and employs a campaigning style that is a hybrid between ALF's vandalism-and-violence strategy and the very sophisticated, peaceful market campaigns that have worked well for labor unions, timber activists and others. For instance, SHAC -- whose members compare their work to that of Civil War abolitionist John Brown -- intimidates, and occasionally physically accosts, executives from Huntingdon and companies that do business with it. The group forced Huntingdon to leave the United Kingdom, single-handedly got the company's stock de-listed from the London Stock Exchange and has cost Huntingdon millions of dollars in cancelled contracts.
SHAC makes PETA uneasy. The group certainly is acting out a philosophy consistent with animal-rights beliefs. PETA advocates the same philosophy, but its most visible tactics -- typified by having models strip naked on New York's Fifth Avenue to protest fashion designers' use of fur -- offer a light alternative. PETA, therefore, has been facing a bit of an identity crisis.
Rather than join the crowded field of animal-welfare groups or cede the crown of animal-rights activism, PETA has responded to the rise of SHAC by initiating a campaign using a SHAC-like market approach to the chicken industry. Thus, a more strident PETA campaign now is focusing on the KFC restaurant chain, with activists harassing executives at their homes and launching protests at events meant to improve KFC's brand and image or to introduce new products. In short, it bears all the hallmarks of a SHAC campaign, but without the physical violence or threats of violence.
At the same time, however, PETA remains attached to the controversial media stunts on which it made its name. Animal-welfare organizations view these stunts as counterproductive and silly, and SHAC-style activists see them as as affronts because they trivialize important issues. These criticisms notwithstanding, the media ploys are mother's milk for PETA because they bring attention to the animal rights cause, anger or amuse the mainstream public, and encourage donations.
Now, into PETA's difficult re-branding effort, comes the discovery that the group is euthanizing animals. While the full impact of this controversy is difficult to predict, it cannot help the organization on any front. PETA does not want to join the long list of animal-welfare organizations: It is unlikely to find many new donors among the animal-welfare crowd, and in any case PETA is not built to act as an animal-welfare organization. The more likely response would be for the group to differentiated itself from animal-welfare organizations by appearing every bit the angry, motivated animal rights group that SHAC is. This change will not take place overnight -- but if it was important for PETA to react to SHAC's rise with the KFC campaign several months ago, it is critical now that it re-establish its animal-rights credentials.
Whatever direction PETA takes, SHAC will be the chief beneficiary of this controversy. If PETA comes to be viewed by the movement as a "soft" animal-rights group, the core of the movement will turn to SHAC and similar organizations. And if PETA tries to compete with SHAC, it will pull the entire movement toward the tactics for which SHAC is known -- and which the more radical group long has argued are the only coherent response to animal abuses.
Should SHAC emerge at the fore of the movement, the public's impression of animal-rights activism will change markedly: It will come to be seen as a threat to the status quo, as encouraging home-grown terrorism and as extremely radical. The public's perception of animal rights would shift from a view of the movement as a quixotic stage through which many young people go, to a dangerous, alluring ideology that must be addressed.
Whether this would be good or bad for the movement itself is difficult to predict.
Send questions or comments on this article to
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: June 29, 2005, 10:37:45 PM
A friend writes:
In 2002, after 9/11 and the fear engendered by the anthrax-in-the-mail
letters, this administration decided to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime
because the risk of permitting him to continue in power outweighed the risk
of expelling him.
What was that risk?
-- SH gives secretly to Islamist terrorists chemical, biological or dirty
nuclear weapons for use against the US and other countries in the West.
Why was that risk real?
-- SH had them in the past and had used them.
-- SH expelled UNSCOM inspectors in 1998 before they could verify the
absence of ALL of those weapons.
-- After Gulf War I, SH falsely denied that he did not have biological
weapons. This deception was discovered only after the defection of his
sons-in-law to Jordan in 1995.
-- The consensus analysis of all major intelligence agencies was that SH
still was concealing large quantities of the components of chem-bio weapons
and that he was attempting to restart his nuclear program.
-- Iraqi intelligence had regular contacts with members of al Qaida and
other Islamist terror groups.
What were our options?
-- Do nothing and trust that Iraqi intelligence operatives will not assist
al Qaida and other terror groups in the construction and use of small WMD's.
-- Eliminate the risk by overthrowing SH and severing the connections
between the terrorists and Iraqi intelligence controlled by SH.
What did we discover about WMD's after we overthrew SH?
-- That SH did not have any large stockpiles of militarized WMD's in Iraq
when he was overthrown.
-- That Iraqi intelligence had maintained a small, covert biological weapons
program up to the overthrow.
-- That SH had not reconstituted his chemical weapons program after 1998,
but had planned to do so after lifting of the UN sanctions.
-- That SH had not reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, but intended
to do so after the lifting of the UN sanctions.
-- That Iraqi intelligence under SH maintained regular liason and contact
with al Qaida and other Islamist terror groups including sponsoring and
funding Ansar al Islam, now known as "Al Qaida in Iraq."
Were there other probable benefits to overthrowing SH?
-- Geopolitically, a pro-US Iraq would occupy the center of the Middle East
from which the US could inlfuence and contain Iran and Syria. Also, the US
could exercise more direct influence over Saudi Arabia.
-- Geographically, the US could induce many Islamist terrorists to fight the
US armed forces in Iraq istead of committing terrorist acts on US soil.
Has the US made mistakes in the conduct of this war?
-- Yes. What President has presided over a mistake-free war? FDR? Truman?
JFK? LBJ? Wilson? Lincoln? Madison? Jefferson? Polk? Cleveland?
Was it worth it?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security
on: June 29, 2005, 05:44:53 PM
Mexico Nabs 2 Iraqis Near U.S. Border
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
MEXICO CITY ? Mexican agents in Tecate captured two Iraqis who had hoped to sneak into U.S. territory without proper documents.
Federal authorities say Samir and Munir Yousif Shana (search) told investigators they were contacted by a person in their hometown of Baghdad, who said he could smuggle them into San Diego.
The two have relatives in San Diego.
Federal agents yesterday arrested the pair, along with two accused Mexican immigrant smugglers and a youngster, in the Paso de Aguila district of Tecate.
The Iraqis said they met the accused smugglers in Tijuana, then accompanied them by bus to Tecate. The group was walking toward the U.S. border when they were apprehended.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: June 29, 2005, 12:31:30 AM
My second post today.
This strikes me as a deep, serious, sober and fair assessment of the current situation.
Signing up recommended in the highest terms!
GEOPOLITICAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT06.28.2005
By George Friedman
U.S. President George W. Bush made a prime-time, nationally televised speech June 28, maintaining the position he has taken from the beginning: The invasion of Iraq was essential to U.S. interests. Though the publicly stated rationale has shifted, the commitment has remained constant. Bush's speech -- and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's revelation earlier this week that the United States has been negotiating with insurgents -- represent an important milestone in the history of the war and require a consideration of the strategic situation.
The issue of why the United States got into Iraq is not trivial by any means. The reasons for its involvement are an indicator of the end-state the United States wishes to achieve. Understanding the goal, in turn, allows us to measure whether the United States is succeeding and how the various forces in Iraq might want to accommodate to that policy or act to thwart it. In other words, if you don't understand why the United States decided to go into Iraq, you cannot figure out how it is faring there at any given stage.
Last week, this column addressed the "Downing Street memo" from the standpoint of what it reveals about U.S. motivations. The memorandum confirms that the United States was not interested in WMD and was using the argument that Saddam Hussein was developing WMD as a covering justification for invasion. It does not address the question of why the United States did invade -- an omission that opens the door to speculation, ranging from the belief that George W. Bush was just being mean, to others involving complex strategies.
Readers familiar with our analysis know that we tend toward the strategic view. The United States invaded Iraq for two reasons, in our view:
1. Seize the single most strategic country in the region in order to pressure neighboring countries to provide intelligence on al Qaeda.
2. Demonstrate American military might -- and will -- for a region that held the latter in particularly low regard.
From our point of view, given the options at the time, the strategy was understandable and defensible. Washington, however, committed a series of fundamental mistakes, which we discussed at the time:
1. The Bush administration failed to provide a coherent explanation for the war.
2. The administration planned for virtually no opposition from Iraqi forces, either during the conventional war or afterward.
3. Given the failure of planning, the United States did not create a force in Iraq appropriate to the mission. The force was not only too small, but inappropriately configured for counterinsurgency operations.
4. The United States did not restructure its military force as a whole to take into account the need for a long-term occupation in the face of resistance. As a result, the U.S. Army in particular not only is being strained, but has limited operational flexibility should other theaters of operation become active.
Because of these failures, the United States has not decisively achieved its strategic goals in invading Iraq. We say "decisively" because some of these goals, such as shifts in Saudi Arabia's policy, have occurred. But because of the inconclusive situation in Iraq, the full value of occupying Iraq and the full psychological effect have evaded the United States. This, combined with consistent inability to provide clear explanations for the administration's goals, has raised the price of establishing a U.S. presence in Iraq while diminishing the value.
The Current Situation
In December 2004, Stratfor argued that the United States had lost the war against the guerrillas in the Sunni Triangle -- that it would be impossible to defeat the guerrillas with the force the United States could bring to bear. At the same time, we have argued that the situation is evolving toward a satisfactory outcome for the United States.
These appear to be contradictory statements. They are not. But they do point out the central difficulty of understanding the war.
The guerrillas have failed in their two strategic goals:
1. They have not been able to spread the rising beyond the Sunni population and area. That means that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi population are not engaged in the rising. Indeed, they are actively hostile to it.
2. The guerrillas have not been able to prevent the initiation of a political process leading to the establishment of an Iraqi government. Forces representing the Shia and the Kurds -- together, about 80 percent of the Iraqi population -- have engaged in regime-building within the general boundaries created by the U.S. occupying forces. At least, for now.
At the same time, the United States has failed to suppress militarily the guerrilla rising within the Sunni region. Within that region, the guerrilla forces have cyclically maintained their tempo of operations. They have occasionally slowed the operational tempo, but consistently returned to levels equal to or higher than before. In spite of the fact that the United States has thrown two excellent divisions at a time against the guerrillas, the insurrection has continued unabated. The involvement of jihadists, who do not share the political goals of Sunni guerrillas, has only added to the noise, the violence and the perceptions of U.S. failure.
Neither side has achieved its goals. The United States has not defeated the guerrillas. The guerrillas have not triggered a general rising. But the situation is not equal, because this is not simply a war that pits the Sunni guerrillas against the United States. Rather, it pits the Sunni guerrillas against the United States and against the Shiite and Kurdish majority. It is this political reality that continues to give the United States a massive advantage in the war.
It must be remembered that the guerrillas' primary target has not been American forces, but the forces and leaders of the Iraqi government. The primary strategy has been to attack the emerging government and infrastructure -- both to intimidate participants and to disrupt the process. However, what many observers systematically ignore is that it is a misnomer to speak of an "Iraqi" government or army. Both of those represent a coalition of Shia and Kurds. Therefore, the guerrillas are engaged in a strategy of attacks against the Shiite and Kurdish communities.
This is what puts the guerrillas at a massive disadvantage, and what makes their strategic failure so much more serious than that of the Americans. Were the guerrillas to defeat the United States, in the sense that the United States chose to withdraw from Iraq, it would create an historic catastrophe for the Iraqi Sunnis, whom the guerrillas represent. Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish communities were the historical victims of the Sunni-dominated Baathist regime, particularly when Saddam Hussein was in control of it. If the United States were to withdraw, the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds would have to make their own peace without outside arbitration. One of the very real outcomes of this would be a bloodbath within the Sunni community -- with Shia and Kurds both repaying the Sunnis for their own previous bloodbaths and protecting themselves from the re-emergence of Sunni power.
There is, therefore, a fundamental ambivalence within the Sunni community. Certainly, the Sunnis are overwhelmingly anti-American -- as indeed are the Shia. The jihadist fighters -- who, after all, celebrate suicide tactics -- are also indifferent to the potential catastrophes. In some ways, they would find a bloodbath by Shia and Kurds helpful in clarifying the situation. But the jihadist fighters -- many of them Sunnis from outside of Iraq -- do not represent the Iraqi Sunnis. The Iraqi Sunnis are represented by the elders from towns and villages, who are certainly not indifferent to a blood bath.
This is the key group, the real battleground in Iraq.
The Political Calculus
The Sunni leadership is aware that the current course is not in their interest. If U.S. forces remain in Iraq, the Sunnis will be excluded from the government and marginalized. If the United States leaves, they will be the victims of repression by the Shia and Kurds. The failure of the guerrillas to disrupt the political process in Iraq puts the Sunni leadership in a difficult position. They supported the insurrection based on expectations that have not borne fruit -- the political process was not aborted. They now must adjust to a reality they did not anticipate. In effect, they bet on the guerrillas, and they lost. The guerrillas have not been defeated, but they have not won. More to the point, there is no scenario now under which the guerrillas can do more than hold in the Sunni regions. The rising cannot turn into a national rising, because there is no Kurdish or Shiite force even flirting with that possibility anymore. The guerrillas' failure to win has forced a choice on the Sunnis.
That choice is whether to pull the insurgents' base of support out from underneath them. The guerrillas are able to operate because the Sunni elders have permitted them to do so. Guerrillas do not float in the air. As Mao and Giap taught, a guerrilla force must have a base among the people. In the Sunni regions of Iraq, the key to the people are the elders. If the elders decide to withhold support, the guerrillas cannot operate. They can operate by intimidation, but that is not a sufficient basis for guerrilla operations.
The United States is trying now to exploit this potential breach. The elders find the guerrillas useful: They are the Sunnis' only bargaining chip. But they are a dangerous chip. The guerrillas are not fighting and dying simply to be a bargaining chip in the hands of the Sunni leaders.
For their part, neither the Shia nor the Kurds have wanted to give the Sunnis guarantees of any sort. They distrust the Sunnis and want to keep them weak and on the defensive. The United States, therefore, has had to play a two-sided game. On the one hand, the Americans have had to assure the Sunnis that they would have a significant place in any Iraqi government. To achieve this, the United States must convince the Shia of two things: First, that an Iraqi regime including the Sunnis is a better alternative to an ongoing civil war, and second, that the United States is, in the final analysis, prepared to abandon Iraq -- leaving it to the Shia and Kurds to deal with Iranian demands and Sunni violence.
Thus, Washington has a very complicated negotiating position. On the one hand, it is negotiating and making promises to the Sunnis and some guerrillas. On the other hand, U.S. officials are projecting a sense of weariness to the Shia, increasing the pressure on them to make concessions. Donald Rumsfeld's statements on Sunday -- confirming meetings between U.S. and Iraqi Shiite leaders with insurgent groups -- were designed to try to hit the right notes, a difficult task. So too were recent offers of amnesty for the insurgents.
But in fact, it is not negotiations but the reality on the ground that drives these moves. The Shia have shown no appetite for a civil war with the Sunnis. That might change, which is a concern for the Sunnis, but they are in a bargaining mode. The Sunnis understand that even were the United States defeated, they would have to deal with the Shia, who outnumber them and are not likely to knuckle under. Simply defeating the United States is in the interests of the jihadists -- particularly the foreigners -- but those who live in Iraq face a more complex reality: An American withdrawal would open the door to disaster, not pave the way for victory. This is not Saigon in 1975. Defeating the United States is not the same thing as winning the war -- not by a long shot. The Sunni leaders know that they can defeat the United States and still be massacred by their real enemies.
Therefore, an American departure is not in the interest of any of the combatants -- except for the jihadists -- at this moment. This is an odd thing to assert, since the insurgents have placed U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as a primary agenda item. Nevertheless, the internal political configuration makes the United States useful, for the moment, to most players. The non-jihadist insurgents want the United States as not only a target, but also as a buffer. The Iraqi Shia, concerned about domination by the Iranians, use the Americans as a counterweight. The Kurds are dependent on U.S. patronage on a more permanent basis. The paradox is this: Everyone in Iraq hates the Americans. Everybody wants the Americans to leave, but not until they achieve their own political goals. This should not be considered support for U.S. domination of Iraq; it is simply the calculus of the moment. But it opens a window of opportunity for the United States to pursue a new strategy.
The United States cannot defeat the guerrillas in combat. It could, however, potentially split the guerrilla movement, dividing the guerrillas controlled by the Sunni leadership from the hard-core jihadists -- whom Bush designated in his June 28 speech as the true enemy in Iraq. If that were to happen, the insurrection would not disappear, but it would decline. Even if the Sunnis were not prepared to engage the jihadists directly, the simple withdrawal of a degree of sanctuary would undermine their operations. The violence would continue, but not at its current level.
From the jihadists' standpoint, this would be an intolerable outcome. They must do everything possible to keep this from happening. Therefore, they must make a maximum effort to deflect the Sunni leadership from its course, harden the position of the Shia, and deny the United States both room to maneuver in Iraq and credibility at home. An increase of violence is, in fact, built into this scenario, and the United States cannot defeat it. Violence frequently increases as a war moves into its political phase.
For this reason, then, our view is that (a) the United States has lost control of the military situation and (b) that the political situation in Iraq remains promising. That would appear to be a paradoxical statement, but in fact, it points to the reality of this war: Massive failures by the administration have led it into a situation where there is no military solution; nevertheless, the configuration of forces in Iraq provide the United States with a very real political solution. All evidence is that the United States is in the process of attempting to move on this political plan. It will not eliminate violence in Iraq. It can, however, reduce the scope.
But before that is possible, the violence will continue to rise.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia
on: June 28, 2005, 02:55:37 PM
Cop Stabbed During Dunkin' Donuts Heist
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
By Jamie Schram, John Mazor and Andy Geller
New York Post
BROOKLYN, New York ? A heroic off-duty cop was slashed yesterday in a fierce struggle with a vicious punk who was holding up a Brooklyn Dunkin' Donuts (search), cops said.
Officer Vincent Schiavelli, 24, who has made 64 collars in his two years in the NYPD, walked into the shop just as the heist was going down, cops said.
Dramatic surveillance photos show the robber ? who wore a Yankee cap and was later identified by cops as 22-year-old Shron Killings ? jumped on top of the counter and lunged at the clerk, trying to slash him with a folding knife.
The robber was reaching into the cash register when Schiavelli ? wearing a white T-shirt ? grabbed him from behind and the two began struggling. The punk, a suspect in two other Dunkin' Donuts robberies with two prior arrests, lunged at the hero cop with his knife but missed.
Schiavelli then got the thug in a bear hug and tried to subdue him. That's when Killings slashed the hero cop in the left side and ran outside, police said. He drove off in a red Kia SUV and was being sought yesterday.
Schiavelli, unaware of his wounds, ran outside and gave chase, but collapsed in pain. He rushed back into the store and called for help.
Schiavelli, who suffered a cut about an inch long where the chest meets the abdomen, was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he was in stable condition. He was kept overnight for observation.
Schiavelli was visited by his parents, Paul and Kathy, and by a steady stream of fellow officers.
"I've been proud of my son since the day he was born," said Kathy as she left the hospital.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was effusive in his praise of the brave officer. Schiavelli "did a terrific job. We're proud of him. He took immediate action without concern for his own safety," Kelly said.
His actions "represent the finest traditions of the NYPD. If he wasn't there, the clerk may very well have been wounded."
Mayor Bloomberg said, "Although we have come to expect this kind of heroism from our police officers, what makes Officer Schiavelli's actions so exceptional is that he was off duty at the time.
"This young officer, out of uniform and without a partner, didn't hesitate to put himself in harm's way to protect a fellow New Yorker."
The drama at the store at 40 Empire Blvd. in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens (search) section unfolded at 6:40 a.m. as Schiavelli was heading to work at the nearby 71st Precinct in Crown Heights (search).
The surveillance video showed the robber walking into the shop carrying a dollar in his left hand and ordering a French cruller. No one else was there.
When the clerk turned to get the doughnut, Killings took the folding knife out of his right pocket but held it under the counter.
He gave the dollar to the clerk, who opened the register. At that point, he lunged at the clerk and Schiavelli grabbed him.
As the suspect fled, a witness copied the license plate of the SUV and cops traced it to Killings' mother, who said she lent it to her son.
Cops said Killings was a suspect in a $300 stickup at the same store on May 17 and a $400 holdup at a Dunkin' Donuts on Utica Avenue on May 25.
An accomplice, Jims Medy, 18, was arrested on June 11 in connection with the first robbery.
Killings' prior arrests are for criminal possession of a weapon and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Shalha Khairkhah, the manager of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens shop, said: "We were very lucky the officer was there. Otherwise I don't know what would have happened."
Demetrius Hinson, 23, who works at a Wendy's next door to the doughnut shop, said he moved to Brooklyn two weeks ago from Charlotte, N.C.
"This is all shocking to me," he said. "This doesn't make me want to stay in New York City. It makes me want to grab my things and get out."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: June 28, 2005, 07:14:53 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, June 28, 2005
On June 26, Donald Rumsfeld said two important things. The first was that the war in Iraq could last another 12 years. The second was that the United States had engaged in negotiations with Iraqi insurgents. Of the two announcements, the one concerning negotiations was by far the most important, although the two were linked in certain ways.
We have asserted for a while that the United States was engaged in discussions with the Sunni leadership in Iraq. By the end of last year, the United States had faced the reality that it was not going to defeat the guerrillas in the Sunni Triangle. The guerrillas had to face the fact that their insurrection was not going to spread into the Shiite community. A stalemate had materialized. Neither side could knock out the other.
This was a classic situation for negotiations. Both logic and intelligence led us to conclude that discussions were under way. The discussions were fueled by another factor: The failure of the guerrillas to disrupt the elections and the government had left the Sunnis in a position where they were in danger of being permanently marginalized. Having boycotted the elections, the Sunnis had virtually no presence in the new government. Unless they made a deal with the Shiite-dominated government, the Sunni's historical enemies would dominate in controlling the levers of government.
The Sunni elders, who were the enablers of much of the insurrection, were trapped between two forces. On the one side, the Shia -- and the Americans -- were pressing them. On the other side, the jihadists, many of them from outside Iraq, were pressing them. They were in a trap from which they had to extricate themselves. On the one hand, they supported the insurrection. On the other hand, they opened lines of communication to the Americans, whom they paradoxically regarded as an honest broker with the mistrusted Shia.
The American reason for the negotiation was simple. It could not indefinitely fight a counterinsurgency among the Sunnis without some allies. The Shia could keep the lid on the majority of the country, but within the Sunni Triangle, they needed Sunnis. The insurrection had two major strands. One was jihadist, taking its bearings from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The other was more nationalist and Baathist. The United States started talking to the second strand.
The problem then became the Shia. The Sunni price was not merely a time line of American withdrawal. It was a constitution that would give the Sunnis veto power over Shiite decisions. The Sunnis could live with the Americans more easily than they could with majority rule. The Americans were prepared to give the Sunnis that sort of power. In the end, the government of Iraq is not a pressing concern for the United States. In fact, they liked a veto because it would limit Shiite power, creating an internal balance of power and limiting the Iranian influence in Iraq.
It was the Shia who would be the big losers in this deal. That is why Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari was in Washington last week. The Bush administration was leaning heavily on them with two choices: Either reach an accommodation with the Sunnis or take responsibility for the counterinsurgency. In effect, make the peace or fight a civil war. In either case, leave the United States out of it. The key was to convince the Shia that the Americans meant it when they privately threatened to abandon providing security in Iraq.
That is why Rumsfeld said that the war might last 12 years, but not for the United States. He was driving home the fact that the war was the Shia's war, not the Americans'. He was also pointing out that peace with the dominant strand in the Sunni community would reduce the level of violence dramatically. Better to face foreign jihadists than the entire Sunni Triangle.
The issue is now in the hands of the Shia and to a lesser extent the Kurds. The Shia want to dominate the new Iraq. They can have that if they are prepared to carry the burden of security in the Sunni Triangle. If they don't want that burden, they will have to make a political arrangement that the United States is prepared to broker. The fighting might last 12 years -- although where Rumsfeld got that exact number is not clear to us -- but the level of fighting is variable.
In any case, the United States is negotiating, if not an exit strategy, at least a mitigation strategy.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: June 27, 2005, 06:05:30 PM
For the record, post WW2 Germans should be judged in their own right and not have the sins of their fathers visited upon them.
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 2:27 PM
Subject: Ralph "The Heckler" Peters
By RALPH PETERS
IN the bitter winter of 1077, Kaiser Heinrich IV, a vicious German politico, pursued the pope to a mountain castle to beg him to lift his excommunication. The pope let the emperor wait barefoot in the courtyard for three days before granting an audience.
When Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visits the White House today, our president should at least keep him waiting three hours. Extend that morning meeting with the Deputy Plumber's Guild of Peoria. Presidents have to prioritize.
Bush won't be rude, of course. Besides, he's got more on his schedule than a burnt-out German hack ? he's got to get the chancellor in and out. It'll be enough to watch Schroeder squirm as he crawls to the Oval Office, begging to be taken seriously again.
Schroeder's so pathetic these days that it's almost ? almost ? tempting to pity him. He was never a man of substance, just a populist slimeball who told more lies in public than Bill Clinton did in private. But the Herr Kanzler figured he could coast on the legacy better men had left behind in Germany. He never had a program, just ambition.
And Schroeder blew it on every single front. With his penchant for grandstanding and an appetite for licking Jacques Chirac's boots, he made a great show of "standing up to Bush" while defending Saddam Hussein. In doing so, he wrecked an alliance of a half-century's standing that had allowed Germany a voice in world affairs it never deserved.
Think Germany's been forgiven? Talk to any American general or diplomat off the record.
At home, Schroeder lacked the vision or courage to undertake anything beyond cosmetic reforms of Germany's gasping economy. The result: the highest level of unemployment since the end of World War II, with developing-world joblessness in his country's industrial heartland.
The children of the Auschwitz guards love to lecture us about human rights. But they won't even give their youth hope for the future. How can a society claim to be humane when it condemns its citizens to lifelong unemployment and the humiliation of the dole?
Under Schroeder, Germany's educational system continued to deteriorate, the country's brain-drain accelerated, industry shifted jobs abroad and the Teutonic reputation for quality craftsmanship went into free-fall (pretty grim when the reliability rating of Mercedes is below that of Hyundai . . . ).
Now Schroeder's lies have caught up with him. Germans want him out. And he's desperate to end his dying chancellorship on any faintly positive note he can. So the Windbeutel invited himself to Washington and our president graciously offered to buy him lunch.
What does Schroeder want? Besides a free meal?
First, he wants a photo op that lets him pretend he's still taken seriously by the most powerful man in the world.
Second, he'll get down on his knees and promise to be good, good, good as gold if only Bush will back Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
Bush would be as nutty as Howard Dean to agree. There are, indeed, a few countries deserving of a new reserved seat at the Security Council's Theater of the Absurd ? Brazil and India head the list ? but Germany's claim to a permanent chair falls somewhere between the aspirations of Liberia and Myanmar.
Why should a decaying, neurotic country with a recent history of massive genocide be granted a seat at the world's most exclusive table? Russia already fills that bill.
But Gerhard, having stabbed the American people in the back with a dull knife two years ago, is hoping against hope that our short historical memory will kick in and we'll forget that one of his favored parliamentarians compared Bush to Hitler ? and the chancellor didn't offer one word of apology.
Schroeder will blabber on about the long tradition of friendship between our two nations. Come again? We had to force democracy on the Germans at gunpoint. They sucked our strategic blood for 50 years and then chose Saddam Hussein over Uncle Sam.
Yeah, we're pals, Fritz. Here comes the big bratwurst.
Our president can afford to be gracious to the beggar on the South Lawn. Bush doesn't have to land any haymakers on the punch-drunk pol: Tony Blair, the British lion incarnate, is ripping off the chancellor's limbs in a diplomatic Monty Python skit.
Blair has given Chirac and Schroeder such a hammering over their refusal to reform the European Union's antiquated system of subsidies that even German newspapers have accepted that the Brit is right: The European Union can't heal itself without serious, painful changes.
Blair wants money moved from giveaway programs to research and development. Schroeder and Chirac want to keep rewarding Europe's unproductive and inefficient farmers and vintners for being unproductive and inefficient.
A week ago, Schroeder thought he saw an opening when Blair torpedoed the business-as-usual E.U. budget. Now he finds that even his longtime allies believe that Blair nailed it.
Justice doesn't always prevail in this complex, tormented world. But sometimes it does. It's lovely to see Chirac in the merde in France and Schroeder begging for mercy in D.C.
All we can hope is that President Bush doesn't succumb to one iota of pity: Don't forgive, don't forget. Schroeder's perfidy aided America's enemies. The chancellor should go home without so much as a souvenir fountain pen.
Bush should smile, listen, shake hands ? then let the "tin chancellor" suffer the consequences his duplicity brought down upon him.
Ralph Peters' is a retired Colonel.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People
on: June 27, 2005, 05:29:30 PM
Folks, note that Buz posted today immediately prior to this post.
The following case I think makes a powerful argument for looking to yourself for self-defense. Crafty
Witnesses said yesterday that two men who killed each other in a gun battle in Fairmount Heights on Saturday afternoon had been feuding since their pit bull dogs got in a fight several weeks ago.
Prince George's County police are investigating the killings, which took place around 4:15 p.m. in the 1300 block of Early Oaks Lane, the Chapel Oaks area. Police have not identified the men.
Neither of the men lived in the neighborhood, but they had close ties to it, according to three residents who knew them and witnessed portions of the gun fight. The residents spoke on the condition of anonymity.
According to the witnesses, the shooting began shortly after one of the men arrived in the neighborhood and traded words with the other. Neighbors who knew them said the two had had several exchanges over the past three months after their pit bulls fought. This time, though, tempers escalated and each went after guns, according to the witnesses.