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30151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: May 28, 2004, 01:28:54 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Friday, May 28, 2004

Muqtada al-Sadr has agreed to pull out of An Najaf without receiving any
official guarantee of amnesty on murder charges and without agreeing to
disband his militia. The withdrawal was not negotiated by the United States, but by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's representatives. This action
promotes the April rising that nearly wrecked U.S. strategy in Iraq toward
closure.

The rising -- both Sunni and Shia -- has created a new reality in Iraq. The
United States has refused to become deeply engaged in two cities: Al
Fallujah and An Najaf. In Al Fallujah, it has negotiated with the Sunnis,
allowing de facto control over the city and permitting guerrillas to
participate in governance. In An Najaf, a Shiite city, the United States has
refused to engage al-Sadr in any way that would damage Shiite shrines.
Instead, it has essentially created a situation where al-Sistani would
either take care of the matter or leave al-Sadr permanently in place. Now
that al-Sadr is withdrawing, we can expect forces under al-Sistani to take
control of the city.

The United States has created a similar situation on two occasions -- it is
no longer an isolated incident -- and is not prepared to take responsibility
for controlling urban areas in the face of sustained resistance. The United
States is prepared to allow local forces -- regardless of composition -- to
work out the political and security situation for themselves. Where there
are lower levels of resistance, the United States is prepared to take part
in patrolling, but it is no longer prepared to take responsibility for all
of Iraq under any and all circumstances.

This is a huge change in U.S. thinking about Iraq since this time last year.
This tactic also has become an inevitable change. There were no options. The United States was not in a position, politically or in terms of forces, to
engage in a massive urban counterinsurgency. The capitulation to reality -- which is precisely what this is -- relies on primary and practicable
missions, rather than on secondary and impossible missions. This shift
ultimately is far more important than any scheduled change in sovereignty June 30. The new Iraqi government will have no power over the situation on the ground; that will be in the hand of local forces.

The other change in strategy was al-Sistani's, who believed he had the
Americans in the bag when he stimulated the al-Sadr rising and then leaned back to watch Americans wipe him out. He was stunned when Americans refused to play their role in his drama, instead doing the unthinkable and negotiating a deal with the Sunni guerrillas. Al-Sistani's move caused the United States to completely reconsider its relationship with the Shia. The entire set of Iraqi National Congress official Ahmed Chalabi's revelations was designed to make it clear to al-Sistani that U.S. tolerance of his maneuvers had reached an end. Al-Sistani was left to clean up his own mess, with no better -- or no worse -- deal than the Sunnis received. But the core message was this: Al-Sistani will not have Iraq handed to him on a silver platter by the Americans. If he wants it, he will have to fight for it -- and not with the Americans.

We have seen two cycles in which attacks against the Americans surged and died away in Iraq. It is impossible to say that there will not be a third.
It is possible to say this cycle is being closed out. Given emerging
realities, the United States could reduce its exposure before the next wave can be organized.

Of potentially greater significance was the news that a top al Qaeda leader has called for an urban guerrilla war in Saudi Arabia, according to a statement on several jihadist Web sites. Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin offered a
detailed list of steps that militants should follow to succeed in a fight
against Riyadh. Depending on how this situation breaks in the coming months, the situation in Saudi Arabia could become far more important than the situation in Iraq.

......................................................................

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
http://www.stratfor.com
30152  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Thai movie: ONG BAK on: May 27, 2004, 08:30:47 AM
I didn't see that part of the movie, but given the KK in the movie I'm guessing that those would be "mai sowks" (pronounced "my socks" I think, but the knowledgeable should please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).  

In contrast to the one post of tonfas, the MS have two, with the second post protecting the fingers, and a loop which goes around the forearm.  Thus the spinning technique of the tonfa is not applicable.  The loop allows for releasing the post for a surprise extension of the weapon.  

Muay Thai descends from KK and it is my understanding that the elbow techniques of MT descend from this weapon.
30153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: May 26, 2004, 08:46:08 PM
Woof All:

A friend sent me this:

Crafty
==================

Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day
Memorial Day is like any other day when you're in an Army at War.

On Memorial Day, May 26th, 2003 at approximately 7:00AM, Major Mathew E. Schram was leading a resupply convoy in Western Iraq near the Syrian border. Major Schram was the Support Operations Officer for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (out of Ft. Carson, Colorado). He had responsibility for organizing the logistical arm of the regiment - ensuring that the Cavalrymen never ran out of food, fuel or ammo.

Normally, Major Schram would not accompany the convoys as his responsibilities kept him at the main resupply point. However, due to the problems with attacks on supply convoys (i.e. Jessica Lynch's 507th Maintenance Company ambush), he decided to lead this one. He also decided that there was a side benefit to the ride - he would be able to talk with the field commanders and troops that he supported. Major Schram wanted to make sure that his "customers" were happy. Anyone who knew Mat Schram knew that he was obsessive-compulsive about making sure "his soldiers" were taken care of...that's why he was one of the top logistical officers in the US Army.

Major Schram's convoy consisted of eight vehicles - one 5,000 gallon water tanker, two 3,000 gallon water trucks, one water pump truck, two 5,000 gallon fuel tankers, one truck with MREs and bottled water, and Major Schram's command Humvee (bumper numbers: S&T 323, 344, 350, 237, 210, 204, 219, and HQ12).

The convoy was headed North from Al Asad Airbase - Foward Operating Base (FOB) Webster (grid coordinate KC 640 430) along Route 12 to FOB Jenna (KC 360 748). After delivering supplies at Jenna, the convoy would continue on to Al Qaim - FOB Tiger (GT 146 911) which had the 1/3 Armored Cavalry.

At 7:15AM, vicinity KC 6514 6181, Major Schram's convoy approached a ravine where the bridge crossing the ravine had been destroyed. The convoy had to go down the embankment, into the ravine, and back up the other side to get back onto the highway.

Once the lead vehicle started up the far bank of the ravine, the convoy came under intense fire from Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), machine guns, and small arms fire. It was an ambush. Fifteen Iraqi insurgents had been waiting by the ravine.

An RPG hit the lead tanker vehicle, disabling it in the kill zone. It was a perfect ambush set up. If the insurgents could knock out the first and last vehicles, then the entire convoy would be stuck in the kill zone. Bullets flew from insurgents on both sides of the ravine. The insurgent grenadiers were trying to concentrate fire on the last American vehicle to bottle Major Schram's convoy in the ravine. The attackers would then be able to kill the Americans at will.

Major Schram ordered his driver, Specialist Chris Van Dyke, to accelerate from their position in the convoy into the insurgents' positions. Major Schram sent a message to Headquarters for help and began returning fire out of the Humvee. The Iraqi grenadiers recognized the threat and shifted their fire from the rear truck to Schram's Humvee, HQ-12.

Multiple grenades exploded at the front and rear of HQ-12. Specialist Van Dyke was blown out of the vehicle. Once he stopped rolling on the ground, he got up and ran back to HQ-12. He got back in and drove the Humvee out of the Kill Zone.

When he turned to get orders from Major Schram, Van Dyke realized that his Major had been killed. Even though he wore body armor, two 7.62 rounds had gone through his armpit (where there is no body armor coverage) and struck his heart, killing him instantly.

The Iraqi insurgents had fled after they fired their grenades at HQ-12 which was heading for them at full throttle.

Immediately, from a nearby FOB, two Apache helicopter gunships were launched along with a MedEvac helicopter. A Quick Reaction Force from FOB Webster was on the scene in less than ten minutes. Aside from the death of Mathew Schram, the convoy suffered only two wounded. Specialist Van Dyke was wounded in his hand and was able to continue his mission. One other soldier in the lead vehicle suffered a broken femur from the initial grenade attack.

The MedEvac brought Major Schram's body and the injured soldier back to the hospital at FOB Webster. The military conducted a funeral for Major Schram in Iraq. Two hundred soldiers were present. Everyone that knew Mat loved him.

The military said it would take ten days to get Mat Schram's body to his family in Wisconsin. It took less than a few days. Also, in a few days after the ambush, the Army had rounded up all of the attackers and put them in prison.

I was at my desk at work on Tuesday, June 3rd. The phone rang. I looked at the caller ID to see that it was a call from Ft. Leavenworth. I picked it up.

It was John, a friend of mine and Mat Schram's. We had all served together years ago and had stayed in touch. He told me to sit down. I did. He told me that Mat had been killed in Iraq.

After composing myself, we finished our conversation and I promised to see John's wife, Patti, at the funeral. John had to be at Special Operations Command and couldn't make it.

I shut the door to my office, sat back down at my desk and wept for a long time.

At the funeral, Mat's family displayed his last letters and emails that he sent. All were strong, positive messages (sooo very Schrambo-like).

 
 
The one part that I left out of this post is that Major Schram's convoy was followed by a car with a Newsweek reporter in it. Once the action began, the reporter and his driver turned and got the hell out of there. If it wasn't for Mat's charge up into the ambushers, they never would have made it out of there alive.

Newsweek never ran a story about my good friend, Mat.
30154  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / say a prayer on: May 26, 2004, 06:42:26 PM
Woof Doug:

Thanks Doug for letting us know.  I will spread the word in the tribe. Myke is a very capable man and may well come out of this OK.  Please tell Cheyenne that our prayers are with all of you.

Woof,
Marc/Crafty

PS:  Please contact me at Craftydog@dogbrothers.com or call me at 310-543-7521.  This is a 24 hour number.
30155  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Women and the breakdown of discipline on: May 25, 2004, 08:10:41 PM
Woof All:

Tiny (I knew a 300 pound bouncer by that name many years ago-- where are you from?  cheesy ) wrote:

"Yes, but the variables discussed were in argument for a different point. There are two issues within this article (though they are slyly presented as one):

"a) That sexual misconduct and pregnancy has increased due to mixed-gendered units/ranks/what-have-you

"b) That the presence of women was a factor in causing acts of cruelty against Iraqi POWs" :

I would suggest that the issue is like the heading says: "Women and the breakdown of discipline".  Apart from pregnancy (whether as a prelude to abortion after being removed from danger or to completion) similar questions arise with gays.

The issue has many facets, but all ultimately relate to military efficiency.

For example, it seems pretty obvious to most people that if a ship of war in harm's way loses 22% of its crew due to pregnancy that military efficiency and discipline suffer dramatically.

For example, if an officer screws the husband of an enlisted man that too hurts morale and discipline.  This was the fact in the case of the woman nuke bomber pilot who was punished for adultery only to have the femi-nazis in Congress in an uproar and the military frantically backpeddle.

For example, it is bad for morale and discipline if, as was the recent Air Force Academy case discussed at length on this forum, a woman cadet breaks rules and goes to the room of an upper classman and gets drunk to the point of passing out and gets laid and then destroys the cadets career for "rape".

For example, it should be pretty clear that when troops are in harm's way that there should be no taint of favoritism due to sexual favors or morale will suffer.  Do you want the sergeant deciding who goes through the mine field first getting blow jobs from some members of the squad? In that many/most young people will f*ck, it makes sense, as the US Military held for centuries prior to the impositions of President Clinton and his femi-nazi crew, that the best solution was to have hetero-sexual men.  Readily granted that there has been much stupid hate of gays, and readily granted that the capabilities of some women have been overlooked and/or demeaned, but the military is not a democracy.  It is there to defend this democratic republic and broad generalizations have their place.

For example, it should be pretty clear that standards should not be changed for reasons of affirmative action.

As for the possibility raised by the article that started this thread that the presence of women may have altered behavior, I fully agree it is not proof--nor did the article present itself as such!  But I also think it unassailable that men and women both act differently in mixed and unmixed company.   The PC fascism of our times (e.g. calling people "traitors to their gender" wink ) makes difficult what should instead be a lively conversation in search of truth.  

Do you think women and men act the same or differently in each others presence?  If so, how?

Forward, in search of truth!
Crafty Dog
30156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: May 25, 2004, 09:49:09 AM
WSJ: PAGE ONE  
MEDAL OF HONOR

In Combat, Marine
Put Theory to Test,
Comrades Believe

Cpl. Dunham's Quick Action
In Face of a Grenade
Saved 2 Lives, They Say
'No, No -- Watch His Hand!'
By MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
May 25, 2004; Page A1

AL QA'IM, Iraq -- Early this spring, Cpl. Jason Dunham and two other Marines sat in an outpost in Iraq and traded theories on surviving a hand-grenade attack.

Second Lt. Brian "Bull" Robinson suggested that if a Marine lay face down on the grenade and held it between his forearms, the ceramic bulletproof plate in his flak vest might be strong enough to protect his vital organs. His arms would shatter, but he might live.

Cpl. Dunham had another idea: A Marine's Kevlar helmet held over the grenade might contain the blast. "I'll bet a Kevlar would stop it," he said, according to Second Lt. Robinson.

"No, it'll still mess you up," Staff Sgt. John Ferguson recalls saying.

 
It was a conversation the men would remember vividly a few weeks later, when they saw the shredded remains of Cpl. Dunham's helmet, apparently blown apart from the inside by a grenade. Fellow Marines believe Cpl. Dunham's actions saved the lives of two men and have recommended him for the Medal of Honor, an award that no act of heroism since 1993 has garnered.

A 6-foot-1 star high-school athlete from Scio, N.Y., Cpl. Dunham was chosen to become a squad leader shortly after he was assigned to Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment in September 2003. Just 22 years old, he showed "the kind of leadership where you're confident in your abilities and don't have to yell about it," says Staff Sgt. Ferguson, 30, of Aurora, Colo. Cpl. Dunham's reputation grew when he extended his enlistment, due to end in July, so he could stay with his squad throughout its tour in the war zone.

During the invasion of Iraq last year, the Third Battalion didn't suffer any combat casualties. But since March, 10 of its 900 Marines have died from hostile fire, and 89 have been wounded.

April 14 was an especially bad day. Cpl. Dunham was in the town of Karabilah, leading a 14-man foot patrol to scout sites for a new base, when radio reports came pouring in about a roadside bomb hitting another group of Marines not far away.

Insurgents, the reports said, had ambushed a convoy that included the battalion commander, 40-year-old Lt. Col. Matthew Lopez, of Chicago. One rifle shot penetrated the rear of the commander's Humvee, hitting him in the back, Lt. Col. Lopez says. His translator and bodyguard, Lance Cpl. Akram Falah, 23, of Anaheim, Calif., had taken a bullet to the bicep, severing an artery, according to medical reports filed later.

Cpl. Dunham's patrol jumped aboard some Humvees and raced toward the convoy. Near the double-arched gateway of the town of Husaybah, they heard the distinctive whizzing sound of a rocket-propelled grenade overhead. They left their vehicles and split into two teams to hunt for the shooters, according to interviews with two men who were there and written reports from two others.

Around 12:15 p.m., Cpl. Dunham's team came to an intersection and saw a line of seven Iraqi vehicles along a dirt alleyway, according to Staff Sgt. Ferguson and others there. At Staff Sgt. Ferguson's instruction, they started checking the vehicles for weapons.

Cpl. Dunham approached a run-down white Toyota Land Cruiser. The driver, an Iraqi in a black track suit and loafers, immediately lunged out and grabbed the corporal by the throat, according to men at the scene. Cpl. Dunham kneed the man in the chest, and the two tumbled to the ground.

Two other Marines rushed to the scene. Private First Class Kelly Miller, 21, of Eureka, Calif., ran from the passenger side of the vehicle and put a choke hold around the man's neck. But the Iraqi continued to struggle, according to a military report Pfc. Miller gave later. Lance Cpl. William B. Hampton, 22, of Woodinville, Wash., also ran to help.

A few yards away, Lance Cpl. Jason Sanders, 21, a radio operator from McAlester, Okla., says he heard Cpl. Dunham yell a warning: "No, no, no -- watch his hand!"

What was in the Iraqi's hand appears to have been a British-made "Mills Bomb" hand grenade. The Marines later found an unexploded Mills Bomb in the Toyota, along with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers.

 
A Mills Bomb user pulls a ring pin out and squeezes the external lever -- called the spoon -- until he's ready to throw it. Then he releases the spoon, leaving the bomb armed. Typically, three to five seconds elapse between the time the spoon detaches and the grenade explodes. The Marines later found what they believe to have been the grenade's pin on the floor of the Toyota, suggesting that the Iraqi had the grenade in his hand -- on a hair trigger -- even as he wrestled with Cpl. Dunham.

None of the other Marines saw exactly what Cpl. Dunham did, or even saw the grenade. But they believe Cpl. Dunham spotted the grenade -- prompting his warning cry -- and, when it rolled loose, placed his helmet and body on top of it to protect his squadmates.

The scraps of Kevlar found later, scattered across the street, supported their conclusion. The grenade, they think, must have been inside the helmet when it exploded. His fellow Marines believe that Cpl. Dunham made an instantaneous decision to try out his theory that a helmet might blunt the grenade blast.

"I deeply believe that given the facts and evidence presented he clearly understood the situation and attempted to block the blast of the grenade from his squad members," Lt. Col. Lopez wrote in a May 13 letter recommending Cpl. Dunham for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor. "His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines."

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor are rare. The Marines say they have no other candidates awaiting approval. Unlike other awards, the Medal of Honor must be approved by the president. The most recent act of heroism to earn the medal came 11 years ago, when two Army Delta Force soldiers gave their lives protecting a downed Blackhawk helicopter pilot in Somalia.

Staff Sgt. Ferguson was crossing the street to help when the grenade exploded. He recalls feeling a hollow punch in his chest that reminded him of being close to the starting line when dragsters gun their engines. Lance Cpl. Sanders, approaching the scene, was temporarily deafened, he says. He assumed all three Marines and the Iraqi must surely be dead.

In fact, the explosion left Cpl. Dunham unconscious and face down in his own blood, according to Lance Cpl. Sanders. He says the Iraqi lay on his back, bleeding from his midsection.

The fight wasn't over, however. To Lance Cpl. Sanders's surprise, the Iraqi got up and ran. Lance Cpl. Sanders says he raised his rifle and fired 25 shots at the man's back, killing him.

The other two Marines were injured, but alive. Lance Cpl. Hampton was spitting up blood and had shrapnel embedded in his left leg, knee, arm and face, according to a military transcript. Pfc. Miller's arms had been perforated by shrapnel. Yet both Marines struggled to their feet and staggered back toward the corner.

"Cpl. Dunham was in the middle of the explosion," Pfc. Miller told a Marine officer weeks later, after he and Lance Cpl. Hampton were evacuated to the U.S. to convalesce. "If it was not for him, none of us would be here. He took the impact of the explosion."

At first, Lance Cpl. Mark Edward Dean, a 22-year-old mortarman, didn't recognize the wounded Marine being loaded into the back of his Humvee. Blood from shrapnel wounds in the Marine's head and neck had covered his face. Then Lance Cpl. Dean spotted the tattoo on his chest -- an Ace of Spades and a skull -- and realized he was looking at one of his closest friends, Cpl. Dunham. A volunteer firefighter back home in Owasso, Okla., Lance Cpl. Dean says he knew from his experience with car wrecks that his friend had a better chance of surviving if he stayed calm.

"You're going to be all right," Lance Cpl. Dean remembers saying as the Humvee sped back to camp. "We're going to get you home."

When the battalion was at its base in Twentynine Palms, Calif., the two Marines had played pool and hung out with Lance Cpl. Dean's wife, Becky Jo, at the couple's nearby home. Once in a while, Lance Cpl. Dean says they'd round up friends, drive to Las Vegas and lose some money at the roulette tables. Shortly before the battalion left Kuwait for Iraq, Lance Cpl. Dean ran short of cash. He says Cpl. Dunham bought him a 550-minute phone card so he could call Becky Jo. He used every minute.

At battalion headquarters in al Qa'im, Chaplain David Slater was in his makeshift chapel -- in a stripped-down Iraqi train car with red plastic chairs as pews -- when he heard an Army Blackhawk helicopter take off. The 46-year-old Navy chaplain from Lincoln, Neb. knew that meant the shock-trauma platoon would soon receive fresh casualties.

Shortly afterward, the helicopter arrived. Navy corpsmen and Marines carried Cpl. Dunham's stretcher 200 feet to the medical tent, its green floor and white walls emitting a rubbery scent, clumps of stethoscopes hanging like bananas over olive-drab trunks of chest tubes, bandages and emergency airway tubes.

The bearers rested the corporal's stretcher on a pair of black metal sawhorses. A wounded Iraqi fighter was stripped naked on the next stretcher -- standard practice for all patients, according to the medical staff, to ensure no injury goes unnoticed. The Iraqi had plastic cuffs on his ankles and was on morphine to quiet him, according to medical personnel who were there.

When a wounded Marine is conscious, Chaplain Slater makes small talk -- asks his name and hometown -- to help keep the patient calm and alert even in the face of often-horrific wounds. Chaplain Slater says he talked to Cpl. Dunham, held his hand and prayed. But he saw no sign that the corporal heard a word. After five minutes or so, he says, he moved on to another Marine.

At the same time, the medical team worked to stabilize Cpl. Dunham. One grenade fragment had penetrated the left side of his skull not far behind his eye, says Navy Cmdr. Ed Hessel, who treated him. A second entered the brain slightly higher and further toward the back of his head. A third punctured his neck.

Cmdr. Hessel, a 44-year-old emergency-room doctor from Eugene, Ore., quickly concluded that the corporal was "unarousable." A calm, bespectacled man, he says he wanted to relieve the corporal's brain and body of the effort required to breathe. And he wanted to be sure the corporal had no violent physical reactions that might add to the pressure on his already swollen brain.

Navy Lt. Ted Hering, a 27-year-old critical-care nurse from San Diego, inserted an intravenous drip and fed in drugs to sedate the corporal, paralyze his muscles and blunt the gag response in his throat while a breathing tube was inserted and manual ventilator attached. The Marine's heart rate and blood pressure stabilized, according to Cmdr. Hessel. But a field hospital in the desert didn't have the resources to help him any further.

So Cpl. Dunham was put on another Blackhawk to take him to the Seventh Marines' base at Al Asad, a transfer point for casualties heading on to the military surgical hospital in Baghdad. During the flight, the corporal lay on the top stretcher. Beneath him was the Iraqi, with two tubes protruding from his chest to keep his lungs from collapsing. Lt. Hering stood next to the stretchers, squeezing a plastic bag every four to five seconds to press air into Cpl. Dunham's lungs.

The Iraqi, identified in battalion medical records only as POW#1, repeatedly asked for water until six or seven minutes before landing, when Cpl. Dunham's blood-drenched head bandage burst, sending a red cascade through the mesh stretcher and onto the Iraqi's face below. After that, the man remained quiet, and kept his eyes and mouth clenched shut, says the nurse, Lt. Hering.

The Army air crew made the trip in 25 minutes, their fastest run ever, according to the pilot, and skimmed no higher than 50 feet off the ground to avoid changes in air pressure that might put additional strain on Cpl. Dunham's brain.

When the Blackhawk touched down at Al Asad, Cpl. Dunham was turned over to new caretakers. The Blackhawk promptly headed back to al Qa'im. More patients were waiting; 10 Marines from the Third Battalion were wounded on April 14, along with a translator.

At 11:45 p.m. that day, Deb and Dan Dunham were at home in Scio, N.Y., a town of 1,900, when they got the phone call all military parents dread. It was a Marine lieutenant telling them their son had sustained shrapnel wounds to the head, was unconscious and in critical condition.

Mr. Dunham, 43, an Air Force veteran, works in the shipping department of a company that makes industrial heaters, and Mrs. Dunham, 44, teaches home economics. She remembers helping her athletic son, the oldest of four, learn to spell as a young boy by playing "PIG" and "HORSE" -- traditional basketball shooting games -- and expanding the games to include other words. He never left home or hung up the phone without telling his mother, "I love you," she says.

The days that followed were filled with uncertainty, fear and hope. The Dunhams knew their son was in a hospital in Baghdad, then in Germany, where surgeons removed part of his skull to relieve the swelling inside. At one point doctors upgraded his condition from critical to serious.

On April 21, the Marines gave the Dunhams plane tickets from Rochester to Washington, and put them up at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where their son was going to be transferred. Mrs. Dunham brought along the first Harry Potter novel, so she and her husband could take turns reading to their son, just to let him know they were there.

When Cpl. Dunham arrived that night, the doctors told the couple he had taken a turn for the worse, picking up a fever on the flight from Germany. After an hour by their son's side, Mr. Dunham says he had a "gut feeling" that the outlook was bleak. Mrs. Dunham searched for signs of hope, planning to ask relatives to bring two more Harry Potter books, in case they finished the first one. Doctors urged the Dunhams to get some rest.

They were getting dressed the next morning when the intensive-care unit called to say the hospital was sending a car for them. "Jason's condition is very, very grim," Mrs. Dunham remembers a doctor saying. "I have to tell you the outlook isn't very promising."


Foto: A Marine kisses a helmet standing in honor of Cpl. Jason L. Dunham during a service at Camp Al Qaim, Iraq.

 
She says doctors told her the shrapnel had traveled down the side of his brain, and the damage was irreversible. He would always be on a respirator. He would never hear his parents or know they were by his side. Another operation to relieve pressure on his brain had little chance of succeeding and a significant chance of killing him.

Once he joined the Marines, Cpl. Dunham put his father in charge of medical decisions and asked that he not be kept on life support if there was no hope of recovery, says Mr. Dunham. He says his son told him, "Please don't leave me like that."

The Dunhams went for a walk on the hospital grounds. When they returned to the room, Cpl. Dunham's condition had deteriorated, his mother says. Blood in his urine signaled failing kidneys, and one lung had collapsed as the other was filling with fluid. Mrs. Dunham says they took the worsening symptoms as their son's way of telling them they should follow through on his wishes,.

At the base in al Qa'im, Second Lt. Robinson, 24, of Kenosha, Wis., gathered the men of Cpl. Dunham's platoon in the sleeping area, a spread of cots, backpacks, CD players and rifles, its plywood walls papered with magazine shots of scantily clad women. The lieutenant says he told the Marines of the Dunhams' decision to remove their son's life support in two hours' time.

Lance Cpl. Dean wasn't the only Marine who cried. He says he prayed that some miracle would happen in the next 120 minutes. He prayed that God would touch his friend and wake him up so he could live the life he had wanted to lead.

In Bethesda, the Dunhams spent a couple more hours with their son. Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee arrived and pinned the Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded in battle, on his pillow. Mrs. Dunham cried on Gen. Hagee's shoulder. The Dunhams stepped out of the room while the doctors removed the ventilator.

At 4:43 p.m. on April 22, 2004, Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham died.

Six days later, Third Battalion gathered in the parking lot outside the al Qa'im command post for psalms and ceremony. In a traditional combat memorial, one Marine plunged a rifle, bayonet-first, into a sandbag. Another placed a pair of tan combat boots in front, and a third perched a helmet on the rifle's stock. Lance Cpl. Dean told those assembled about a trip to Las Vegas the two men and Becky Jo Dean had taken in January, not long before the battalion left for the Persian Gulf. Chatting in a hotel room, the corporal told his friends he was planning to extend his enlistment and stay in Iraq for the battalion's entire tour. "You're crazy for extending," Lance Cpl. Dean recalls saying. "Why?"

He says Cpl. Dunham responded: "I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive. I want to be sure you go home to your wife alive."

Write to Michael M. Phillips at michael.phillips@wsj.com
30157  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Thai movie: ONG BAK on: May 25, 2004, 07:42:25 AM
I just saw part of this movie while in Europe and enjoyed it a lot.
30158  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Women and the breakdown of discipline on: May 25, 2004, 07:14:56 AM
Woof SB et al:

Yes it is a joke, but scary that you were not sure, yes?

Anyway, at

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=156

several points related to this thread were discussed.

Woof,
Crafty
30159  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Women and the breakdown of discipline on: May 24, 2004, 04:51:28 PM
I like that technique of changing the variable.  Lets see how it applies.

Factoids:

1) Is Bosnia, with no US casualties at all, 5% of all women stationed there got pregnant.   I read an article which inferred, in a way which seemed reasonable to me, that many/post of these pregnancies were terminated upon return to the US.

2) In the Gulf War, the USS Arcadia lost 22% of its crew due to pregnancy.

3) The data does not spring to mind, but apparently there has been an unprecedented number of accusations of rape (who knows how the hell they have defined it though) and sexually related "crimes".

=======================================

(AP) NEWPORT NEWS, VA (March 29)

The US Navy, amidst lavish celebration, launched the newest addition to the Fleet today: the USS William J. Clinton. The Clinton, according to a Navy spokesperson, will add a new twist to the Navy's capabilities and will solve a number of problems that have arisen in the years since women were added to the complements of Navy vessels. USS Clinton, designated AGH(M)-1, is a brand-new, state-of-the-art Maternity Hospital Ship. Navy Spokesman Ben A. Mittlesteadt, briefing reporters before the christening ceremony (the ceremony for the "ship," not its occupants) stated that the new vessel is designed to alleviate the serious challenges associated with the ever-increasing incidence of shipboard pregnancies.

"We are concerned that the necessity of evacuating female sailors from fleet units has become a difficult operation, given the number of evacuees that we have to deal with on a weekly basis. USS Clinton will be equipped with its own helicopter airlift wing in order to relieve the maternity transportation burden on existing combat units."

The Clinton is to be the first of a twelve-ship class, each 80,000 ton ship costing $230 million. A Clinton-class ship will be added to each of the Navy's carrier battle groups to ensure full combat-readiness in the face of the increasing number of expectant naval personnel.

Each AGH(M) will be provided with a fully equipped OB/GYN staff, a complete birthing facility (staffed by Navy medical personnel trained as midwife/Lamaz specialists), and a neonatal clinic. A comprehensive day-care center will be included in order to allow new sailor-mothers to return to duty as quickly as possible, which will greatly increase the efficiency of Navy operations, Mittlesteadt told reporters.

In a departure from Navy tradition, the ship's sponsor, NOW president Patricia Ireland, christened the vessel by breaking two bottles across the ship's bow: one containing infant formula, symbolizing the services to be provided to a new generation of Navy juniors, the other filled with kiwi/orange/cucumber nectar, representing the Navy's commitment to fulfilling the needs of its pregnant crewpersons. The second ship of the class, the USS Murphy Brown (AGH(M)-2), is scheduled to be launched next year.
30160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: May 22, 2004, 06:43:43 PM
Season of Apologies
It?s time for reckless critics to own up.

Victor Hansen; National Review Online


President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld were both asked to apologize recently for the illegal and amoral behavior of a few miscreant soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. They did so without qualifications, despite the fact the military had itself uncovered the transgressions and already prepared a blistering indictment of such reprehensible acts. Media scrutiny was intense; a general has already been removed from command; court trials are scheduled; and more resignations, demotions, and jail time loom.

 
 
 
 
 
But since we are in the season of apologies, we might as well continue it to the bitter end. Here I do not mean the buffoons like Michael Moore whose remorse would be as spurious as the original slander was lunatic, but rather serious commentators and statesmen who have crossed the line and need to step back. So here it goes.

Ted Kennedy is the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts. He wields enormous influence and has appointed himself as surrogate spokesman for the Democratic opposition. Yet here is how he recently weighed in about Abu Ghraib: "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management ? U.S. management."

This slander is both untrue and dangerous at a time when thousands of Americans are under fire in the field from commandos and criminals without uniforms who often pose as innocent civilians. The slur, pompously and publicly aired, is a morally reprehensible pronouncement in almost every way imaginable inasmuch as Saddam murdered tens of thousands with the full sanction of the Iraqi state apparatus. In contrast, a few rogue U.S. soldiers may have tortured and sexually humiliated some Iraqi prisoners ? evoking audit and censure at the highest levels of "U.S. management" and inevitable court martial for those directly involved. There is no evidence that the "torture chambers" that disemboweled, shredded, and hung prisoners on meat hooks are now "reopened" for similar procedures on orders of the American government.

Mr. Kennedy should apologize. His reckless and feeble attempts at moral equivalence are wrong in matters of magnitude, government responsibility, and public disclosure, remorse, and accountability. Worse still, his silly comments ? printed around the Arab world ? suggest to the those on the battlefield that a high-ranking official of their own American government believes that his own soldiers are fighting for a cause no different from that which murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Thomas L. Friedman is the chief New York Times columnist now writing about foreign affairs. Millions at home and abroad read what he writes, and trust him to be both sober and judicious in his criticism. We have all read him with profit at times. But in a particularly angry opinion editorial on May 13 he leveled the following baffling charge: "I know this is hard to believe, but the Pentagon crew hated Colin Powell, and wanted to see him humiliated 10 times more than Saddam."

That charge is simply untrue, and is nearly as reckless as Mr. Kennedy's remarks. Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides do not "hate" Mr. Powell. No one has expressed such venom. But what is truly reprehensible is to imply that officials of the United States government wished far worse for their own decorated Secretary of State than they did for a mass murderer with whom they were then currently at war. Once more such a malicious remark will do untold damage abroad. If Mr. Friedman cannot produce a reputable source or direct quotation for such an unfortunate attribution that borders on character assassination, he should apologize for being both wrong and incendiary.

So far we know as much about the Oil-for-Food mess as we do the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal. Other than the sensational pictorial evidence from the prisons, the only difference in the respective ongoing audits is that the U.S. military is fully investigating its own while the U.N. is stonewalling. But if dozens of Iraqis may have been humiliated and perhaps even tortured by renegade American soldiers, tens of thousands of women and children faced starvation while corrupt U.N. officials at the highest levels knew about billions of needed dollars in illegal kickbacks skimmed off hand-in-glove with a mass murderer.

So far Kofi Annan ? whose own son, Kojo, was at one time associated with the Swiss Cotecna consortium involved in the shameful profiteering ? has not apologized to the Iraqi people. He should. Again, his agency's wrongdoing did not result in humiliation for some, but probably cost the lives of thousands while under his watch.

What is going on? The months of April and May have been surreal ? scandals at Abu Ghraib, decapitations and desecrations of those killed from Gaza to Iraq, and insurrections in Fallujah and Najaf. The shock of the unexpected has led to hysteria and cheap TV moralizing by critics of the war, fueled by election-year politics at home, apparent embarrassment for some erstwhile supporters of the intervention who are angry that democracy in Iraq has not appeared fully-formed out of the head of Zeus, and a certain amnesia about the recent dark history of the United Nations.

Yet there are historical forces still in play that bode well for Iraq ? aid pouring in, oil revenues increasing, Iraqi autonomy nearing, and radical terrorists failing to win public support ? all of which we are ignoring amid the successive 24-hour media barrages. The combat deaths of 700 soldiers are tragic. We in our postwar confusion have also made a number of mistakes: not storming into the Sunni Triangle at war's end, not shooting the first 500 looters that started the mass rampage of theft, not keeping some of the Iraqi army units intact, not bulldozing down Saddam Hussein's notorious prisons, not immediately putting at war's end Iraqi officials into the public arena, not storming Fallujah, and not destroying al Sadr and his militias last spring.

Still, in just a year the worst mass murderer in recent history is gone and a consensual government is scheduled to assume power in his place in just a few weeks. Postwar Iraq is not a cratered Dresden or the rubble of Stalingrad ? it is seeing power, water, and fuel production at or above prewar levels. For all the recent mishaps, two truths still remain about Iraq ? each time the American military forcibly takes on the insurrectionists, it wins; and each time local elections are held, moderate Iraqis, not Islamic radicals, have won.

So let us calm down and let events play out. If it were not an election year, Mr. Kennedy would dare not say such reprehensible things. In two or three months when there is a legitimate Iraqi government in power, Mr. Friedman may not wish to level such absurd charges. And when the truth comes out about the U.N.'s past role in Iraq, both Iraqis and Americans may not be so ready to entrust the new democracy's future to an agency that has not only done little to save Bosnians or Rwandans, but over the past decade may well have done much to harm Iraqis.

But in the meantime, let these who have transgressed all join the president and the secretary of defense and say they are sorry for what they have recklessly said and the untold harm that they have done.
30161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: May 20, 2004, 02:21:54 PM
......................................................................

1158 GMT -- IRAN -- Iran dismissed May 20 the possibility of an Israeli
attack against its nuclear facilities. Iranian Minister of Defense Rear Adm.
Ali Shamkhani said, "Israel is too vulnerable to materialize its threat."
The remarks from Shamkhani come after recent reports that Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon during his trip to Washington last month discussed
with U.S. President George W. Bush possible Israeli plans to attack Iran's
nuclear facilities if Tehran gets close to developing a nuclear weapon.


......................................................................

Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, May 20, 2004

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz admitted today what everyone has known for months: The United States underestimated the determination of Saddam Hussein and his intelligence service to resist the occupation in Iraq. Wolfowitz said, "I would say of all the things that were underestimated, the one that almost no one that I know of predicted was to
properly estimate the resilience of the regime that had abused this country
for 35 years."

This is an extraordinarily important statement. Wolfowitz is one of the key
American strategists. Until Wolfowitz -- and by implication Rumsfeld --
publicly acknowledged their miscalculation of the regime's resilience, there
was no possibility of a serious adjustment of strategy. That and the
admission that the United States did not know how many troops would be
required and for how long set the two poles in place for a strategic
re-evaluation. Having been wrong about the enemy's capabilities and
intentions, prior strategic estimates are out the window. There is no valid
forecast at this point. In the world of strategy, the lack of a forecast on
something as basic as troop levels means there must be a comprehensive
review. No one can argue any longer that what the United States is doing is
working. That opens the door to the inevitable strategic re-evaluation.

While Wolfowitz's statement finally opens the door to the future, we will
permit ourselves one final look at the past. Wolfowitz said that almost no
one he knew "properly" estimated the level of resistance. That is certainly
true, if by "properly" you mean describing the nature of the guerrilla war.
But there were many -- Stratfor included -- who argued that the Hussein
regime was not going to go quietly into that good night if they had a
choice. We also argued that they had prepared for this moment for years, and certainly had a postwar plan.

The issue therefore is if the core question is whether others precisely
estimated the type of resistance, or whether they estimated that there would probably be substantial resistance. The criticism of the administration is not that it failed to anticipate the exact type of resistance, but that it dismissed the idea of significant resistance -- in the short and long term -- at all. Statements from the Department of Defense prior to the war were dismissive of the Iraqis in the extreme as a fighting force, and the kind of plans DOD made for the postwar world indicated it did not anticipate any serious problems.

There are two charges to be leveled at Wolfowitz. The first is that he
failed to allow for any resilience in the Iraqi resistance. The far more
serious charge is that he continued to deny the seriousness of the
resistance for months after it was a problem -- in fact, denying it publicly
up to this point. This directly led to a strategy that could not succeed
because it was based on a fundamental misreading of the situation.

With that said, let us now all agree that Wolfowitz has conceded the
obvious. The question therefore is: What will he do about it? Uncertainty is
embedded in war. The craft of the strategist, however, is to minimize
uncertainty using planning that begins with a precise estimate of the
situation on the ground and proceeds from that to a plan based on the
resources available. The uncertainty about troop levels is rooted at this
point in the fact that a precise appreciation of the situation is only now
developing, and that no strategy will emerge until that is in place.

The challenge is this. The appreciation of the situation must be developed
from U.S. intelligence services: CIA, Defense Intelligence and Army Military Intelligence. These are the same organizations that failed to provide an accurate appreciation of the situation in the first place. However blame is allocated among them, the collective outcome was unacceptable. The question that will have to be asked is this: In what way have these intelligence organizations changed their practices so that strategists can have confidence that their estimates are reliable? Or put differently, what changes is Wolfowitz making in his own staff to ensure, first, that the estimates are reliable, and second, that they are properly utilized?

We are now back where we began. What is the mission? What is the situation on the ground? What are the available resources? What is the strategy?  Wolfowitz said that he did not expect the current troop levels in Iraq at this point. An honest answer, but incomplete. The complete answer is that he did not expect to be grappling with these questions a year later. Wolfowitz is a student of Thucydides. A careful reading of "The History of the Peloponnesian War" would be appropriate, not so much to understand what will happen, but to understand what can happen when expectations and reality diverge.
30162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: May 04, 2004, 03:34:26 PM
And, changing the pace to a piece of silliness:
============

The General's Night on the Town with the Crew

During the early 80's, a certain airborne system was deployed to Howard AFB, Panama. The presence of the system, at the time, was somewhat hush-hush, and is often the case with the military, since the use of the system was not yet determined to be a constant thing, everyone involved with it were deployed to Panama on a Temporary Duty status.

The 'front end' of the system was your garden variety C-130. The backend held a surprise - a slide in/bolt on system, operated by a highly trained group of technicians, good for all sorts of things. The technicians were from a seperate organization than the 'front end', and frequently in Panama on a continually rotating basis, so they got to know the lay of the land fairly well. It also helped that most of the technicians were fluent in Spanish.

There came a time when one of the high ranking officers (a Brigadier General - 1 star) of the organization that 'owned' the technicians decided to drop in and 'see how his boys were doing'. The general was no ordinary flag officer. He was a pilot and a bit of a non-conformist - he was known to be a firm believer in the 'work hard, play hard' rule of thumb, and was quite a character. Truth be told, this tale is one of many involving this remarkable individual.

The General shows up, and is briefed on the set-up, makes the standard rounds doing the 'hi, how ya treatin my boys' meet and greets with the local command structure, then has a quiet evening crewresting for the next day - when he went along on one of the sorties. During the 9 hour jaunt, the General fell in with the scurrilous bunch that was one of our crews at the time, and they regaled him with all sorts of tales about life while TDY to Panama. At the time, one of the central fixture of that life was an area known as 'Calle Jota' - J-Street. It was an enclave of bars and nightspots clustered tightly together, amply staffed with regional 'talent' (mostly from Colombia, some from Ecuador) to 'entertain' the crowds which attended festivities almost nightly.

Well, the General decides, 'I'm here to see how my guys are getting along, so I need to get the feel for the entire experience' - and is heartily invited to come along with the crew after the debrief while they go and 'unwind' from the day's mission.

Now, as with a lot of Generals, he had an aide-de-camp along with him, a Major. A particularly prim and proper Major. A non-flying, epitome of a staff weenie, asshole so tight you couldn't drive a sewing needle up it with a sledgehammer Major. He of course thought the idea of the General going out for a night on the town with 'his boys' was just the thing to bring Western Civilization crashing to its knees. But, being astute enough to know that his career hung by the good word of his boss, he decided to take the advice passed on by one of my buddies in an aside "now, the General says he wants to go out drinking with the crew, and he doesn't want some f**kwad babysitter telling him he can't or shouldn't". The Major decided he would retire to his billeting room, to catch up on some paperwork or some such.

So everyone gets cleaned up, loads up on the 'crew bus', a rental Toyota 15 passenger deal, and off they go. And a big time was had by all. The General was introduced to the cheapest rot-gut Rum produced in the Western Hemisphere, a brand named 'Carta Vieja' (Old Cart), served by the bottle with Coca=Cola setups and ice on the side. He was introduced to some of the star entertainers of the various establishments - the local glitterati. He was invited to head up and join a few of the stage performances, and accepted the offer - in the process of one of these, swapping t-shirts with the young lady. He was having a blast, and so were the guys.

But of course, all things must end, and even the bars on Calle Jota have a closing time (around 3 am), so out to the crew bus they all go. On the way to the bus, they passed a street vendor selling 'monkey meat on a stick' - some sort of animal parts roasted over a hibachi grill and sold by the stick. Probably one of the most tasty delicacies available to drunken servicemen the world over. So the General asks the guy running the stand "How much?"

The guy tells him "Cincuenta centavos" (Fifty cents)

"No, no, no...how much for the whole setup.

Uhhhh...

Eventually they agreed on a fair price (about $25 bucks), and the parade to the bus resumes - a buncha drunks with a lit barbeque set. The General sets up shop in the back of the bus, and starts cooking monkey meat sticks for everybody. The back windows are open, and they go cruising back over the Bridge of the Americas, singing, laughing, with smoke pouring out the back of the bus.

As they pull up to the front gate at Howard AFB, the SP on the gate steps out in the road and stops them. He notices the blue, one star insignia in the holder on the front bumper. He looks up and sees a bus full of drunks, with smoke billowing out the back windows. For some reason, this didn't seem quite right to the young Airman, so he motions for them to open the side door, He steps up inside the bus and loudly announces -

"Allright, which one of you fuckin assholes is the goddamned General?"

(from the dark, smoke filled back of the bus) "That would be me, son!"

"Yeah, right, lemme see your ID card, pal"

At this point most of the crew is about to piss their pants and its about all they can do to keep from busting out in howls of laughter knowing what's coming next. The general fishes out his ID card and it is ceremoniously passed forward for the young SP to inspect.

He shines his flashlight on it. The eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. He then begins to imitate a goldfish, just sort of opening and closing his mouth, no sounds coming out, and his head drops, possibly glancing at the stripes he's expecting will have to be coming off of his fatigues now...

Actually, the General follows his ID card up to the front of the bus, and invites the young Airman, who's sure he's going for a remote to Greenland at this point, outside for a chat. The General is a really great people person, and he calms the kid down, tells him that it was perfectly understandable he was suspicious of the odd sight before him, and what an excellent job he was doing keeping the base safe. Within 5 minutes, the Airman was smiling nervously, rendering several salutes as the General got back to tending to his Hibachi, and waved the bus on in for the evening.

The next morning, the General, sans hangover, woke up his aide bright and early, and they caught their flight back to the states.
30163  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Passing of Maestro Elmer Ybanez on: May 04, 2004, 09:56:01 AM
The heading was not descriptive and so was easy to miss:

http://www.dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=320
30164  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: May 04, 2004, 09:48:40 AM
Woof All:

Another post from the ED brought over here:

Crafty
===========

Hi Jay:
I must have missed something in the ED since your
subject title is Marc Scott's post of Mr. Romy
Macapagal's article. Is this the one that appeared in
the latest issue of Rapid Journal?

Since you quoted me below, I should add that in
Yambao's book, the chapter on the history of arnis was
actually written by Buenaventura Mirafuente, one of
Yambao's students. I am still curious as to where
Mirafuente may have gotten the term itself, since this
book is, as far as we know, the earliest publication
on arnis. An examination of the said chapter does not
show where he got this term from. No bibliographic
reference, no reference to interviews, not even a hint
if this was stock knowledge at the time. Just the
blanket statement itself.

Now, to add another perspective as far as comparative
linguistics is concerned, I recently talked to one of
my senior colleagues from the College of Arts and
Letters here in the University of the Philippines. He
is an Ibanag (an ethnolingustic group in the northern
Philippines) and also spoke Ilokano and Pangasinense,
and he told me that in their area, the old folk used
the term kali to refer to martial arts in general and
if I remember right, to fighting with weapons (note
disclaimer - if I got him right smiley). This seems in
line with the list of terms used by Mirafuente in his
chapter, and especially the list of terms used at the
end. BTW, those terms are also used in the paragraph I
posted earlier.

Sooooo, back to the question: Where did Mirafuente get
the term kali from? I don't know - but I would be
interested to hear from Ilokano, Ibanag and
Pangasinense speakers on this list if that is the term
used in their areas, and how commonly used is it. Also
related terms, as Mirafuente mentions a number of
them.

Your comment about the US Filipinos use of the term
kali interests me since it seems like a worthwhile
topic of interest to anyone doing research on oral
history in the US. Particularly on the lives of early
US Filipinos and especially the FMA masters who
immigrated there. Anyone wanting to take it up
academically?

Bot
30165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: May 03, 2004, 01:09:43 PM
Covert Searches Are Increasing Under Patriot Act
Civil liberties groups see a dangerous trend, but the Justice Department says added surveillance shows improvements in fighting terrorism.
   
By Richard Schmitt, LA Times Staff Writer


WASHINGTON ? Underscoring changes in domestic surveillance allowed under the Patriot Act, the Justice Department said in a report released today that it had conducted hundreds more secret searches around the country last year.

The department said the use of covert search powers, which were enhanced under the Patriot Act, showed how federal investigators had stepped up the war against terrorism in the United States over the last 32 months.

     
 
 
   
     
 
But civil liberties groups expressed concern over the increase because the targets of the searches were given fewer legal protections than suspects in normal criminal cases. The process of obtaining approval and executing the searches and surveillance is also shrouded in secrecy.

In an annual report to Congress, the Justice Department said it obtained approval to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches in more than 1,700 intelligence cases last year. According to the department, the number of searches had surged 85% in the last two years; about 1,200 searches were authorized in 2002, and 900 in 2001.

The report did not identify or discuss specific cases.

U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft said in a statement that the data illustrated how the Justice Department and the FBI were "acting judiciously and moving aggressively" to uncover and prevent terrorist attacks.

"These court-approved surveillance and search orders are vital to keeping America safe from terror," Ashcroft asserted.

The burst of activity was a direct result of the easing of standards for intelligence-gathering that was authorized by the Patriot Act, the terrorism-fighting law enacted by Congress six weeks after the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

Under the new law, the government can obtain secret warrants by showing that a significant purpose of the search has to do with intelligence-gathering, as opposed to a criminal investigation.

Before the change, the law was interpreted as requiring the government to show that intelligence-gathering was the primary reason for the request.

Many experts think the old rules were too restrictive, and unduly impeded the hunt for potential terrorists. The new procedures were upheld in court in November 2002. The search applications are reviewed by a federal tribunal known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The court was set up in the mid-1970s as a check on government power amid revelations of massive illegal spying on political dissidents and other citizens by the FBI.

But the court, which conducts secret proceedings, has become a lightning rod for civil liberties concerns in the post-Sept. 11 era as the number of surveillance applications and the volume of the court's work has rapidly grown.

A major fear is that investigators are using the so-called FISA procedures to bypass the stricter requirements that cover the issuance of search warrants in criminal cases, in which the government must show probable cause that a crime was committed. The concern is that the process is enabling the government to chip away at protections afforded defendants under the 4th Amendment prohibition against illegal searches.

Information gleaned from the intelligence searches can later be used in criminal prosecutions, but defendants in such proceedings have fewer rights to attack the basis of the searches or to obtain intercepted information.

Moreover, if the intelligence searches do not lead to criminal prosecutions, the targets are never told that they were under surveillance; in criminal cases, suspects must receive notice of any surveillance even if they are never charged.

"The real mistakes never come to light" in intelligence cases, said James X. Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington think tank. He said he was concerned that "an increasing number [of the FISA cases] are likely to end up in criminal prosecutions."

"I am troubled by the secrecy." Dempsey said. "There is no way to know whether the pendulum has swung too far."

Adding to the concern is the fact that the number of intelligence searches in recent years has come to rival and possibly exceed the number of searches in criminal cases, as the government has marshaled federal resources against fighting terrorism instead of other crimes.

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, federal and state courts authorized the use of wiretaps and other electronic surveillance in about 1,400 cases last year, compared with the 1,700 FISA warrants, which also cover physical searches.

"They are shifting the government apparatus for surveillance to a much more secret process with much less judicial oversight," said Timothy Edgar, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington.

By classifying cases as intelligence cases, he said, "they are doing an end run around the 4th Amendment."
30166  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: May 03, 2004, 01:00:46 PM
Dog Ban Reversal Saves Pit Bulls, Angers City
Denver residents balk at governor's last minute reprieve.
By David Kelly, Times Staff Writer


DENVER ? Freshly sprung from dog pound death row, Buddy the bull terrier sauntered along a rainy sidewalk pausing here and there to sniff a tree or water a lawn.

"Yep, it was curtains for Bud," said Ben Wilson, as he watched his pet savor his newfound freedom. "I'd go to the pound every day and rub his belly and then have to leave. He was so depressed."

Buddy, who resembles a fire plug with legs, was slated for death when he was granted a last minute reprieve by Colorado Gov. Bill Owens who signed a bill April 21 outlawing bans on pit bulls and related breeds, calling such measures "doggy profiling."

But the new law, and Denver's reaction to it, has caused much snapping and snarling between local officials, dog lovers and civil rights advocates.

Denver City Council, which banned pit bulls in 1989 after a series of deadly attacks and maulings, authorized its city attorney on Monday to sue the state for violating the community's home rule responsibilities.

Dog advocacy groups said they would take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court if Denver prevailed. And a local lawyer said that profiling dogs has led to profiling owners.

"I can't complain about the dog law but I can complain about the guy on the other end of the leash," said lawyer David Suro, who represents a Latino whose dog was picked up. "Of the 1,000 people charged with pit bull violations in the last five years, 62% are Hispanic."

He plans to file a motion in municipal court claiming the city is targeting Latino dog owners.

Denver is not alone in banning the dogs ? Miami, Cincinnati and a number of smaller cities have too. If a pit bull is seen in Denver, the owner is given a warning to move it outside city limits. If it's spotted again, it is taken to the pound where it could be euthanized. Since the ban took effect, hundreds of the dogs have met that fate.

"It's impossible for any species of dog to be genetically dangerous. They can be aggressive due to their environmental conditions," said Glen Bui, vice president of the American Canine Assn. in Seattle which has fought breed bans around the country and wants to do the same in Denver. "This gives Denver a false sense of security. It's the attempted genocide of a breed of dog."

But city officials say everyone else should butt out.

"Tell me please if there is anything more local in government than a dog catcher?" asked Charlie Brown, a city councilman. "We do not have state dog catchers in Colorado, we have city dog catchers that we pay for. We have the right to create our own ordinances based on Denver's dog problems. It's time to draw a line, and I am drawing it in front of the dog pound."

Denver's ban went into effect after pit bulls, in separate attacks, mauled a local minister and killed a 5-year-old boy. Neighborhood groups demanded action from the city, leading to tense debates over whether pit bull behavior was a matter of training or instinct.

"It was very heated on both sides," recalled Cathy Reynolds, a city council member at the time. "These animals had become notorious in the neighborhoods for their attacks."

The ban covers the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier.

In November, three pit bulls in rural Elbert County south of Denver killed a woman and seriously injured two others before they were shot by sheriff's deputies. The lack of such attacks in Denver, City Council members said, is evidence the ban is working.

Karen Delise, author of the book "Fatal Dog Attacks," said about 20 people a year are killed by dogs nationwide and the chance of it happening again in the same city or county was akin to lightning striking twice in the same place.

Delise, who collects data on dog attacks, said there were at least 2 million pit bulls in the United States. Some are trained to fight but she said there was no evidence that pit bulls in general were inherently vicious or more prone to attack than other dogs.

"When I call around the country and hear the shelters are full of these dogs it gives me the message that there are too many pit bulls and too many irresponsible owners," she said. "Banning a breed puts the focus on the dog and you are ignoring the real factors that contributed to its behavior."

Buddy, the dog pardoned by the governor, is an 8-year-old, 35-pound Staffordshire bull terrier who has not hurt anyone. Wilson would walk him in Denver's Washington Park drawing stares and occasional warnings from locals about the ordinance.

"I couldn't believe the city would actually enforce it," he said.

One day Buddy escaped from the yard and was picked up by animal control. Wilson's dog was returned with a warning to move it out of the city. He put Buddy up for adoption but didn't like the looks of those wanting to take him, suspecting they planned to train him as a fighting or attack dog.

Then two weeks ago, his wife was in the backyard planting flowers when animal control officers showed up and spotted the dog.

"They took him away," Wilson said. "I couldn't believe it."

Wilson, 33, wrote letters, contacted lawyers and e-mailed Republican State Rep. Debbie Stafford from nearby Aurora. Stafford was sponsoring a bill that would stiffen civil penalties on dog owners whose animals attack. It contained a provision forbidding breed bans.

"I think breed bans are horrible," Stafford said. "Denver has killed thousands of innocent family pets. Last year alone, it killed 410 pit bulls that never hurt anyone."

Stafford rushed the bill through the legislature hoping to head off Buddy's scheduled April 30 demise. The governor signed it into law last month, saving Buddy and 21 other dogs.

For now at least, the squat pooch is wallowing in the bosom of his family. He rolled on Wilson's living room floor, shook off the rain and propped up his big square head to be patted.

Wilson happily obliged.

"See," he said. "He's a lover, not a fighter."
30167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: May 03, 2004, 12:02:47 PM
Derivative Crimes and Federal Injustice
by William L. Anderson and Candice E. Jackson, March 2004 [Posted March 10, 2004]



One of the common complaints levied against criminal justice in the United States is that criminals often are acquitted because of ?legal technicalities.? For example, defendants who seem to be guilty find charges dismissed because police did not properly inform them of their ?Miranda Rights,? or evidence that clearly demonstrates guilt is kept from legal proceedings because of the ?exclusionary rule.?

Indeed, the average person might believe that American justice clearly favors the guilty over the avenging angels of the prosecutorial staffs that are unable to put predators away. In the wake of the O.J. Simpson ?not guilty? verdicts in 1995, for example, commentators and much of the outraged public called for an end to the jury system, stronger controls against defenses, and an overhaul of the nation?s judicial system to help better weight the proceedings in favor of the prosecutors.

Think again. At least in the federal system, the vast majority of the estimated 170,000 prisoners are incarcerated for what one can only call ?legal technicalities.? In fact, most federal crimes listed on the federal statutes are not crimes at all in the historical sense, but at best are imaginary charges that are derived from other alleged wrongdoing. Thus, we call them ?derivative crimes.?

Financial ?derivatives? are securities that obtain their value from the value of other securities, such as stock mutual funds or hedge funds. We have chosen to apply the term ?derivative? to classes of federal crimes that in and of themselves are works of fiction, but that are created as an umbrella term to include a number of other real violations of the law.

Take the crime of ?racketeering,? for example. In the real world, no one ?racketeers? another person. However, thanks to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (dubbed RICO) the federal government deems racketeering to be a pattern of wrongdoing such as running illegal gambling operations and prostitution rings.

Of course, the activities upon which racketeering is based are already illegal under most state laws. The reason that racketeering laws exist is not to redefine the crime, but rather to push defendants into federal court, where the rules of evidence clearly tilt in favor of the prosecution ? and where winning convictions is easier.

Furthermore, the racketeering laws are written in order to do an end run around the double jeopardy provisions of the U.S. Constitution and, in a technically legal way, to turn into federal cases what the Constitution clearly intended to be matters for the states.

Racketeering is not the only federal derivative crime. The prosecutor?s arsenal includes charges such as money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy, all of which carry stiff sentences, but which are not really crimes unto themselves.

Take money laundering. If federal investigators believe that at least part of someone?s money was obtained illegally, then if one either spends that money or deposits it in a bank, prosecutors can charge that individual with money laundering.

Keep in mind that the activities such as spending money or putting it into a bank by themselves are innocuous. Furthermore, once charges such as money laundering or conspiracy are filed, prosecutors do not have to prove the alleged underlying crime in order to win convictions. Instead, the burden of proof is similar to that of civil court, which is mere preponderance of the evidence.


Easier convictions and harsher punishments

The result is that federal prosecutors have an easier time obtaining convictions than do their state counterparts. Furthermore, federal law calls for harsher sentences for defendants who proceed to trial ? and subsequently lose ? than for those who plea bargain. The prospect of spending decades in prison for activities that for all intents and purposes are not real crimes can be horrifying to someone who has never had a brush with the law before.

Take the case of former Enron treasurer Ben Glison, who recently pleaded guilty to one count of ?conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.? While the simple association with the disgraced Enron firm is enough for someone to be judged a criminal in the public eye, the charge to which Glison pleaded guilty is a legal absurdity. To put it another way, he pleaded guilty to a derivative crime of another derivative crime. (For that, he received five years in prison.) The government did not have to prove that he had committed an actual crime of securities fraud (which is highly derivative in itself); it simply concocted a chain of phantom crimes in order to win a conviction.

It gets even worse. Three Christian anti-abortion activists in western Virginia were involved in civil litigation over an adverse possession case in which they cut timber on land to gain possession (all in accordance with Virginia state law). However, in subsequent litigation they settled out of court for $90,000 with an alleged landowner (who did not have title but to whom the land was later awarded by adverse possession by a federal judge).

When the men cut the timber (after they had carefully researched Virginia law on adverse possession and were convinced they were acting within the law), the government moved in and charged them with conspiracy, wire fraud, and mail fraud. While the charges might seem ominous, they are even more specious than most derivative crimes, which are filed to cover activities that are alleged criminal violations of state codes. In this case, however, no underlying crime was committed, as the original legal proceedings took place under civil litigation. The men were tried and convicted in federal court and are awaiting sentencing at this time.

(Moreover, during the investigation, federal officials offered the defendants a ?deal? if they would inform on or testify against some anti-abortion activists. They refused. Thus, one can see that political issues also have a role in the decision-making process of federal prosecutors.)

The filing of criminal charges in regard to a civil case is a major step forward in the federal prosecutorial system, as it greatly increases the possibilities for future ?white-collar crime? convictions. U.S. attorneys can simply troll through civil lawsuits, pick the losers, and charge them with various federal crimes such as conspiracy and mail fraud.

If this sounds as though the federal government is increasingly criminalizing normal business conduct, it is because that is exactly what is occurring. Keep in mind that the prospect of going to prison for sending letters or faxes in the course of lawsuits is going to keep a number of business owners and executives up late at night. It will also serve to drive a large portion of investment out of the United States, as the reality of ?lose a lawsuit, go to prison? begins to strike home.

In the wake of the Enron and WorldCom debacles, politicians from both sides of the aisle have been calling for more criminal penalties for business executives who seemingly engage in shady conduct. Indeed, new laws such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have further expanded the definitions of conspiracy and money laundering in the hope that the nets of criminality can be spread more widely in the business world.

Anyone who believes that expanding the already unjust list of federal crimes will help make business markets more secure and increase ?honesty? in economic dealings should look again. By their nature, federal criminal statutes are nebulous and people often do not realize that someone in authority regards their conduct as criminal until it is too late. Laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the USA PATRIOT Act increase the uncertainty of what is criminal behavior and what is not.

The great English jurist William Blackstone, who articulated the ?Rights of Englishmen? upon which law in this country was built, declared that law must be a shield to protect the innocent from predators, both private and public. Furthermore, he argued, law has to be consistent and certain, with clear boundaries to enable individuals to feel secure in the law.

The days of law having a Blackstone-like character are gone in the United States. Federal criminal law has made law more uncertain and has increased the arbitrariness of enforcement. The legal fences that once protected ordinary Americans are being torn down, and tyranny is moving into the void.
30168  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: May 02, 2004, 05:06:50 PM
Not sure why you would be surprised.  Please remember I make NO pretense at being a historian.   I am not vouching for Leo's post-- I simply saw it on the ED, it seemed interesting and so I posted it here-- where some people with some background often come to play-- simply for comments and observations.  Use it as you will.
30169  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: May 02, 2004, 09:08:10 AM
Woof All you Historians:

Spotted this on the ED by Leo Salinel:

"I agree with Professor Bot Jocano. Placido Yambao
didn't invent the word in 1957; for sure he got it
somewhere. The problem is, we don't know where he got
that.

Another historical puzzle is the fact that the late GM
Floro Villabrille and GM Benny Largusa were the first
Americanized Pinoys to use "kali" as a term to refer
to their arnis/eskrima. And yet I assume it isn't
likely or possible even for those guys to read Placido
Yambao's book, which was published by the University
of the Philippines Press in 1957 as an academic sort
of book (in 1957, GM Villabrille had been in the USA
for more than 20 years. And I doubt if GM Largusa, who
was born in Hawaii, speaks Tagalog). So the question
remains:  WHERE DID THEY GET THE WORD kali?

I have a novel theory that the answer to this riddle
lies in the "Pulahan" cultist groups. GM Villabrille
trained with the Pulahans, and GM Braulio Pedoy
learned his arnis from Faustino Ablin, a Pulahan
chieftain, from whom he got the story of their art of
Derobio being one of "those pre-colonial fighting
styles that went underground when the Spaniards
outlawed the use of blades" (quoting from the Derobio
website). Could there be a Pulahan connection to all this?"

Any merit to this?

BTW, I thought the date of publication was 1951, not 1957?

yip,
Crafty
30170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: May 02, 2004, 01:00:42 AM
By ANTHONY CARDINALE
News Staff Reporter
BuffaloNews.com
4/26/2004

Cpl. Jason Dunham of Allegany County jumped in front of a hand grenade to save the lives of two fellow Marines in Iraq on April 14.

Dunham, 22, of Scio, died Thursday in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. His death brought to eight the number of Western New York servicemen to die since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Two other Marines were wounded but are recovering.

"All I can say is, this ain't nothing that I wouldn't expect of my son, because that's the kind of person he was," his father, Daniel Dunham, an Air Force veteran, said Sunday. Dunham read from documents received from the military about the circumstances surrounding his son's fatal injuries in Karbala, about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad.

"Preliminary reports are that an Iraqi hostile (fighter) departed a stopped vehicle with a hand grenade. When he deployed the hand grenade, Cpl. Dunham put himself between the grenade and his fellow Marines. The two Marines who witnessed the event were also medevaced, so the battalion is still gaining details."

Dunham began his second deployment in Iraq in September after extending his enlistment to serve as a squad leader with another Marine unit. He enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Scio Central School in June 2000. He was scheduled to complete his service in July.

"Jason's been my hero since the day he was born," his father said. "All my kids are. They never had to do anything to prove that to me."

The funeral will be scheduled later this week after the body arrives home.

Survivors, in addition to his parents, include two brothers, Justin, 21, of Butler, Pa., and Kyle, 15; a sister, Katie, 11; and his grandparents, Patricia Layton of Amity, Murray and Linda Dunham of Arkport, Gerald and Roberta Kinkead of Ridgeway, Pa., and Bernie and Sandy Jackson of Wellsville.

###


Marine dies with parents at his bedside
By Rick Davis
The Desert Sunbrown
April 27th, 2004

A corporal who last week became the 30th service member from Twentynine Palms to die in the Iraq war suffered his fatal injuries when he jumped in front of a hand grenade in an attempt to save the lives of his battalion mates, the fallen Marine?s father said Monday.

Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, was injured critically April 14 when struck in the head by shrapnel from a grenade explosion during a confrontation with Iraqi hostile fighters near the city of Karbala, 60 miles southwest of Baghdad.

The 23-year-old Dunham was airlifted to a hospital in Germany, then to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. He died Thursday with his parents at his bedside. His death was announced Monday afternoon by the Department of Defense.

"All I can say is this isn?t nothing that I wouldn?t expect of my son because that?s the kind of person he was,"Daniel Dunham, his father, said by telephone from Jason?s hometown, Scio, N.Y., a town of 1,914 in southwestern New York.

Daniel Dunham said information regarding his son?s death came from documents supplied by the Defense Department.

He said the documents indicated the grenade was thrown by a suspected Iraqi insurgent and two other Marines who witnessed the incident were wounded, but are recovering.

The news of Dunham?s death came the same day another Marine from his battalion was buried in his hometown.

Funeral services were held Monday for Lance Cpl. Ruben Valdez in San Diego, Texas. Valdez was killed April 17 in Iraq, three days after Dunham suffered his wounds.

An Air Force veteran, Daniel Dunham said Jason, one of three sons, enlisted in the Marines following high school graduation in June 2000 because it seemed like a good fit.

"He's a little more rugged than me and needed to go where the rugged went," he said. "We're all very strong about the ilitary being good for young kids, for teaching discipline and responsibility. Jason?s been my hero since he was born. All my kids are. They never had to do anything to prove that to me."

Dunham, whose military occupational specialty was machine gunner, first served in Iraq last year while assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

He was transferred to another Twentynine Palms-based unit,3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, last fall and deployed with it to Iraq in February.

Daniel Dunham said he understood his son had extended beyond his July expiration of enlistment in order to be assigned duty as a squad leader this time.

"Jason was my son, and also my friend," said Debra Dunham, Jason's mother. "We loved him deeply and will miss him very much."
30171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 30, 2004, 05:48:57 PM
Al-Sadr and the Law of Diminishing Returns
April 29, 2004   1712 GMT

Summary

Muqtada al-Sadr's Iran-based mentor appears to be distancing himself from his prot?g?. Chronic chaos in Iraq is highly unpalatable from Iran's perspective, and this move could signal an agreement among Washington, Tehran and Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani over the standoff in An Najaf.

Analysis

Muqtada al-Sadr's Iran-based mentor, Grand Ayatollah Kazem Hossein Haeri, no longer supports al-Sadr's uprising against U.S. forces in An Najaf. In an interview with AFP in Qom, Haeri's younger brother, Ayatollah Mohammed Hossein Haeri, said, "For us to approve of the activities of Muqtada al-Sadr, he would need to coordinate with our office in An Najaf, something he has not been doing. Neither Ayatollah Haeri nor any other Iraqi religious leader has declared jihad, so one cannot attack the occupation forces -- unless they attack Iraqis, then they have the right to defend themselves."

This is the first clear statement separating the mainstream Shiite leadership from the actions of al-Sadr, whose forces are engaged in a standoff with U.S. forces in An Najaf.

At its core, the statement signals that the Iranians still want to work with the United States in managing Iraq. This is no small achievement for Washington. Since Iraq's population is majority Shia, any permanent resolution in Iraq will be colored by U.S.-Iranian relations.

Second, the statement makes clear that the portion of the Islamic leadership most tightly affiliated with al-Sadr feels he is overstepping his religious and political bounds. Haeri's statement could mean Iran will try to rein in al-Sadr; if they fail, they will not interfere when the United States moves against him.

Finally, and more speculatively, it is possible that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is nearing an agreement with the United States to defuse the situation in An Najaf. The recent U.S. agreement with the Sunnis of Al Fallujah is likely a key factor pushing al-Sistani's negotiations with Washington. Al-Sistani will not be outflanked by the Sunnis if he can help it, which is exactly why Washington made the Al Fallujah deal in the first place. Iran wants an Iraq that is whole, at peace, Shiite-controlled and Iranian influenced -- not one that resembles the wrong side of the gates of hell. They do, after all, live next door.

The best way to make the 30-year-old al-Sadr simmer down is to send him a blunt message from his mentor -- the same mentor whose backing allowed al-Sadr to advance his position to its current level.

In short, this move demonstrates that Iran -- despite all posturing -- continues to work with the United States to attain its goals of a unified Iraq dominated by its Arab Shiite allies. While Iran and the Iraqi Shia might be able to achieve most of what they had hoped for, the real winner in this latest round is the United States. Sunnis are patrolling Sunnis in Al Fallujah, Iranian Shia are reining in Iraqi Shia, and for the first time in weeks, there is a serious possibility that no major combat will take place anywhere in the country.
=============

Al Fallujah: New Deal More Than a Cease-Fire?
April 29, 2004   1624 GMT

Summary

U.S. Marines announced an agreement to quell the fighting in Al Fallujah. This accord represents not only a cease-fire on the ground, but also a broader willingness by the United States to deal directly with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq at the expense of its alliance with the Shiite majority.

Analysis

U.S. military officials April 29 outlined an accord to end -- at least temporarily -- fighting in Al Fallujah. This is not the first time a cease-fire has been announced during the nearly month-old standoff with Sunni insurgents.

The last cease-fire occurred earlier in April and was the result of the first negotiations between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents -- albeit through Al Fallujah city officials. Stratfor noted at the time that such talks amounted to the "Great Satan" sitting down and chatting with "terrorists," something that both sides repeatedly had sworn would never happen.

At that point, Stratfor raised the question: "If an agreement can be reached -- and enforced -- in Al Fallujah, then why not in the Sunni Triangle? Why not in Iraq? Why not elsewhere?" We also pointed out that the player who would be most upset -- and isolated -- by the cease-fire would be Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the de facto leader of Iraq's Shiite community. Until that cease-fire, al-Sistani's influence allowed him to play hardball with the United States. The cease-fire raised the possibility that the United States was just as capable of working with the Sunnis as it was with the Shia. If that were to be the case, al-Sistani's currency would plummet.

The United States essentially has agreed in the new accord to cede responsibility for Al Fallujah's security to an all-Iraqi force comprised of soldiers and policemen, and commanded by a former general identified only as "Gen. Salah" -- three generals by that name served under Saddam Hussein -- from the old Iraqi regime. This force, known as the Fallujah Protection Army (FPA), will be wholly responsible for patrolling and securing Al Falljuah, but will remain under the command of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The Marines will not wholly abandon Al Fallujah, but will withdraw from the city proper and not engage in cordoning it off. They will remain in the area. The pullout began today with Marines in the city's southern industrial district being told to pack up their gear and disengage. As of this writing, there were no new reports of fighting.

The terms of this deal represent a sea change in the U.S. attitude toward the Sunni insurgency. Not only did the United States not make any substantive demands -- at least publicly -- on the insurgents, but also they appear willing to entrust the fate of the city to an all-Iraqi force commanded by a man who served as a general for Saddam. The deal brings tentative stability to Al Fallujah, but on a much larger scale, it brings another element to the coalition's national strategy in Iraq.

From the U.S. point of view -- and more importantly, al-Sistani's -- this is much more than a cease-fire. This agreement with Sunni insurgents comes at a time when U.S. forces are poised to strike into An Najaf in order to root out rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Sunnis remain a force to be reckoned with, but a deal is done that has a strong prognosis. The only way it would seem it could break down in the next few days is if the Al Fallujah insurgents are feeling extremely frisky in large numbers -- and decide to charge across open ground to engage dug-in U.S. Marines.

The Shia, however, are faced with a United States that not only has freed a military hand to employ elsewhere, but also feels secure enough to trust a Sunni force to patrol a Sunni city that has displayed a tendency, even a desire, to kill Americans. Such a state of affairs forces al-Sistani to seriously reassess his position.

====================

 Al Fallujah: New Deal More Than a Cease-Fire?
April 29, 2004   1624 GMT

Summary

U.S. Marines announced an agreement to quell the fighting in Al Fallujah. This accord represents not only a cease-fire on the ground, but also a broader willingness by the United States to deal directly with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq at the expense of its alliance with the Shiite majority.

Analysis

U.S. military officials April 29 outlined an accord to end -- at least temporarily -- fighting in Al Fallujah. This is not the first time a cease-fire has been announced during the nearly month-old standoff with Sunni insurgents.

The last cease-fire occurred earlier in April and was the result of the first negotiations between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents -- albeit through Al Fallujah city officials. Stratfor noted at the time that such talks amounted to the "Great Satan" sitting down and chatting with "terrorists," something that both sides repeatedly had sworn would never happen.

At that point, Stratfor raised the question: "If an agreement can be reached -- and enforced -- in Al Fallujah, then why not in the Sunni Triangle? Why not in Iraq? Why not elsewhere?" We also pointed out that the player who would be most upset -- and isolated -- by the cease-fire would be Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the de facto leader of Iraq's Shiite community. Until that cease-fire, al-Sistani's influence allowed him to play hardball with the United States. The cease-fire raised the possibility that the United States was just as capable of working with the Sunnis as it was with the Shia. If that were to be the case, al-Sistani's currency would plummet.

The United States essentially has agreed in the new accord to cede responsibility for Al Fallujah's security to an all-Iraqi force comprised of soldiers and policemen, and commanded by a former general identified only as "Gen. Salah" -- three generals by that name served under Saddam Hussein -- from the old Iraqi regime. This force, known as the Fallujah Protection Army (FPA), will be wholly responsible for patrolling and securing Al Falljuah, but will remain under the command of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The Marines will not wholly abandon Al Fallujah, but will withdraw from the city proper and not engage in cordoning it off. They will remain in the area. The pullout began today with Marines in the city's southern industrial district being told to pack up their gear and disengage. As of this writing, there were no new reports of fighting.

The terms of this deal represent a sea change in the U.S. attitude toward the Sunni insurgency. Not only did the United States not make any substantive demands -- at least publicly -- on the insurgents, but also they appear willing to entrust the fate of the city to an all-Iraqi force commanded by a man who served as a general for Saddam. The deal brings tentative stability to Al Fallujah, but on a much larger scale, it brings another element to the coalition's national strategy in Iraq.

From the U.S. point of view -- and more importantly, al-Sistani's -- this is much more than a cease-fire. This agreement with Sunni insurgents comes at a time when U.S. forces are poised to strike into An Najaf in order to root out rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Sunnis remain a force to be reckoned with, but a deal is done that has a strong prognosis. The only way it would seem it could break down in the next few days is if the Al Fallujah insurgents are feeling extremely frisky in large numbers -- and decide to charge across open ground to engage dug-in U.S. Marines.

The Shia, however, are faced with a United States that not only has freed a military hand to employ elsewhere, but also feels secure enough to trust a Sunni force to patrol a Sunni city that has displayed a tendency, even a desire, to kill Americans. Such a state of affairs forces al-Sistani to seriously reassess his position.
30172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: April 30, 2004, 11:45:19 AM
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, April 30, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

The photograph below was taken at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base 38 miles north of San Diego. It shows Col. Robert Knapp and Spirit of America's Jim Hake in front of the television equipment that was bought with contributions from readers of this newspaper and others. It will be in the air tomorrow, bound for Al Anbar province in Iraq. There, Marines from the First Expeditionary Force will help Iraqis restore seven local TV stations.

This is a remarkable story of can-do. I think it is also the story of a nation willing to do more than it has been asked by the Bush administration. It is about the need for an Iraqi homefront.

The column describing Spirit of America's effort to raise $100,000 for the TV stations appeared in this space 14 days ago. Since then, the following has happened:

Jim Hake, Spirit of America's entrepreneur founder, says they have received $1.52 million. Some 7,000 donations have come from every state, and one from . . . France.

Mr. Hake purchased all the needed equipment and had suppliers ship directly to Camp Pendleton. Federal Express donated domestic shipping costs.

Stanley Hubbard at Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. in Minnesota has offered several hundred thousand dollars in state of the art digital television equipment. That equipment would provide satellite uplink and downlink capability, allowing the Iraqis' TV stations to get program content from elsewhere in the world.

Mr. Hake has received five new requests from military in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, the live war that faded from view until Pat Tillman, the former NFL player, was killed there. A Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan requested soccer equipment for a village team: "They compete regionally but have no equipment save a couple of soccer balls." The team's equipment will soon be shipped.

Sounds like small potatoes. But in the relatively alien worlds the U.S. now finds itself, represented by its soldiers, this is what must be done if we hope to extinguish terrorism and restore self-government in lands taken over by terrorist networks.

Tellingly, Mr. Hake has also received a request from a Coalition Provisional Authority office in Iraq. The CPA of course is the U.S. government agency officially tasked with restoring Iraq, and funded by Congress (i.e., the American people). That the CPA itself would ask Jim Hake for help suggests that peacetime rules and red tape are smothering a wartime effort--whether by the CPA, private contractors or the military. This is a good subject for another time (horror stories of bureaucracy run wild welcome at the address below).





Let us downshift a moment from this tale of real people giving their own money to do real good in Iraq to survey how the war appears more familiarly in the life of America. Just in the past week, amid televised scenes of U.S. soldiers fighting to defeat their killers and the killers of Iraqi innocents in Fallujah and Najaf, the homefront consisted of:
John Kerry sitting down Monday with ABC's Charles Gibson to parse "medals" and "ribbons" in panicked syntax that recalled Ralph Cramden's famous "hummina-hummina-hummina" routine; a debate over televising covered coffins; an appearance before the all-partisan September 11 commission by the President and Vice President; and tonight's scheduled naming by Ted Koppel of every U.S. soldier killed in Iraq the past year. Mr. Koppel said, "We felt that the impact would actually be greater on a day when the entire nation is not focused on its war dead." Not focused on its war dead?

 The war as it is presented in the U.S. and the war as it exists in Iraq seems to occupy separate spheres of reality. The political class and media treat the war as something whose "policy" details can somehow be revisited, even rethought. At home, the war is a political event, a normal partisan phenomenon. Its metaphors are borne out of Vietnam--quagmire, bogged down, body counts, Ted Kennedy.

Guess what? Vietnam isn't coming back. The people of this country tore the nation's fabric terribly over Vietnam. They are not going to do it again.

The grand response to the Spirit of America request says to me that the public understands that we are there in Iraq and the job now isn't to debate its value but to get the job done. Most Americans don't want to be one of the partisan bobbleheads on television. They want to be part of a genuine homefront, helping. One who responded to the Spirit of America appeal, Dick Kampa of Tucson, Ariz., put it this way:

"My sense is that there are many who would support civilian, home-front activity that would bolster troop morale and communicate to the Iraqi people that we really are their friends. Putting a political label on such activity would be counterproductive. I think Democrats and Republicans should, and many would, unite in these activities. Perhaps we need rallies or community meetings linked to constructive actions like funds for impactful projects in Iraq, adopt-a-communities, collection of goods, bandage rolling, etc., things that involve people across America."

You know for a fact that if Laura Bush undertook any such homefront effort, it would be dissected and mocked as hokey and irrelevant. Too bad. I don't think most Americans want to debate woulda, coulda, shoulda just now. They want to win. Spirit of America is a start, but someone high in the Bush administration ought to start thinking of ways to let more people pitch in.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
30173  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: April 26, 2004, 10:01:33 AM
PRIMER FOR EXPAT DRIVERS IN JAKARTA

One of the first and most interesting things noted by new arrivals is that Indonesian drivers are often to be found travelling on the wrong side of the street. There is no need to be alarmed. It is quite normal. In fact, every square inch of the street surface is considered useable, including the sidewalks, in any direction. The painted lines are considered basically as attractive municipal decorations, nice to have, but of no real importance.

If you wish to plunge into the mechanical maelstrom that constitutes traffic in Jakarta, you must adopt the simple and elegant Indonesian philosophy that "Mine is the only car on the road, and I am the only driver". Operating a vehicle under this philosophy is simplicity itself. One simply proceeds as if the streets were deserted, looking neither left nor right and CERTAINLY not in the rear view mirror.

The screeching of brakes and blaring of horns are not your concern. They relate entirely to some other dimension. If, on occasion, the Jakarta driver is forced to acknowledge the presence of others, for instance, while immobilised in the Indonesian version of a Mexican stand-off, then the second phase of the Traffic Philosophy comes into play: "I am a person of consequence, therefore, I shall go first".

It should always be remembered that for a Jakarta driver the only other traffic that exists anywhere on the planet is that directly ahead of the driver's peripheral vision. If it cannot be seen, it cannot possibly exist. Obviously, one strives to see as little as possible. This leads to the next most obvious characteristic of the Battle of Batavia, or, brinkmanship Jakarta style. The key is to convince the other driver that you don't see him, while he tries equally hard to convince you that he can't see you either. Both vehicles leap for the same opening, both carefully ignoring the other. The first to give way is clearly the lesser man and has lost face entirely.

Never drive a new car in Jakarta. The normal decadent Western compulsion to avoid dents will fatally weaken your driving technique, leaving you trembling in terror at intersections, waiting for a tiny break in the traffic so you can go home. The break - if it occurs at all - will come at about 4.30 in the morning, between the end of the evening rush and the beginning of the morning rush, which starts around 4.31. The wisest course is to buy a large, heavy, ugly old bomb, do up the engine and put in a nice interior with stereo and air conditioning, but do nothing to the exterior, unless it is to roughen up any remaining smooth spots with a sledge hammer.

Do not mess with Metro Minis or larger buses. They are in a completely different league to the rest of us and serve the same purpose as sharks in the sea, that is to ravage the slow, weak and hesitant. The drivers of these battle wagons are the "black belts" of the street, as verified by the physical condition of their vehicles. Just watch the effortless ease of such a bus, if you can see it through its own smoke, casually turning without the slightest warning straight across four lanes of fast moving traffic. Always remember that any such manouvre however insane is considered completely legal provided that the conductor is hanging out of the left-hand door and waving his arm downwards.

Concentration is critical. On main streets such as Jalan Sudirman, you will encounter twenty thousand assorted vehicles happily travelling no more than half a metre apart, at not less than 80km an hour. A lapse in concentration of any more than a microsecond will have you wedged completely off the road by a Kijang diving into the space between you and the vehicle ahead, even if that space not quite big enough. To avoid this, disregard everything you learned in driving school and always tailgate the car in front. An allowance of more than half a metre is viewed by local drivers as a fatal weakness and exploited without mercy.

During rush hour, there are policemen directing traffic - in much the same manner as one channels a stampede of wild buffalo between outriders. It is extremely hazardous duty, and while it may appear that they are co-ordinating their operations via walkie-talkie, in truth they are comforting and consoling each other with the hope that some day they may get a safer assignment, perhaps on the Bomb Squad.

It is important to pay close attention to the roadworthiness of your vehicle. Where you come from this would mean the brakes, tyres, the stoplights and so on. In Indonesia it means that your horn must work. Without it, don't even THINK of taking the vehicle on the road. Horn technique, too is all-important. One doesn't "toot" the horn in Jakarta. Apart from the fact that it would be lost in the din, timidity in motor-horn management is seen by all levels of Indonesian society as a sign of sexual inadequacy.

Take hold of the horn ring in your fist, place the weight of your upper body behind the thrust, now BLOW the horn! A full-on, truly authoritative blast! Really accomplished horn blowers can vaporise whole lines of cars with a single blast. If your car is a new one, (one strike against you already, see above) one fingered operation of the little horn buttons on the steering wheel is regarded as a toot. One uses the entire palm of the hand against the button, and the arm and shoulder as well. The result is not as satisfying as a horn ring, but it is acceptable.

The Indonesian Government, as part of its commitment to population control, encourages motorcycle usage. Motorcycles may be treated as moving targets in traffic with a possible score of 100 points upon taking one out without actual physical contact. This is not difficult, as most riders are instinctively suicidal. A creative imagination can produce really spectacular results. For instance, while stopped in bumper to bumper traffic, you will notice bikes zooming between the cars at speeds approaching mach 3.

Simply opening a car door at the appropriate time will produce highly satisfactory results, as the rider, eyes bulging, mouth agape, attempts to fly his Honda. Slamming the door closed at the last possible moment maintains your eligibility for the 100 points, as no physical contact was made. The rider, with any luck, will go on to make a fresh dent in a Metro Mini, and become a statistic. Collect 100 points and pass Go. It is considered good form to tip the driver of the Metro Mini 10 points.

On many of the newer highways the Government has thoughtfully provided clearly marked 'right turn' lanes. Expats new to Jakarta often mistake these for right turn lanes, which is extremely dangerous. Their proper function in Jakarta is to allow enterprising drivers to get ahead of the through traffic. With correct timing, they can sneak up to the head of the waiting traffic column and on the green light leap out ahead of them, cutting back to the left lane in what looks like the start of a LeMans race. This manoeuvre is always executed by three or four cars moving nose to tail at full throttle and is normally quite successful except in the rare cases where some fool tries to use the lane to turn right. This takes everybody completely by surprise, since they naturally expect right turns to be initiated in the usual way, from the far left lane.

Hand-carts, like motorcycles, are moving targets. The vegetable salesman, the breadman, the bakso man, all are most often encountered attempting to wedge an overloaded cart across six lanes of traffic at the height of the morning rush. Mind you, this is six lanes of traffic travelling at warp speed on a road intended for three lanes. The breadman, with a bike-mounted cart, is considerably more mobile and is usually encountered in your lane on the freeway, late at night, going the wrong way. Without reflectors, and, of course, wearing black clothing.
As you flash by, perilously balanced on two wheels, he glares at you in contempt muttering under his breath about the damn stupid bulehs on the road at this hour of the night.

In the same vein, any Jakarta resident considers it perfectly normal to load his Vespa with his wife, three children, four grandchildren, grandmother, two chickens (live, with their feet tied together and hooked over the rear-view mirror bracket) and two large plastic shopping baskets of vegetables, and set out at four o'clock in the morning in the pouring rain. He sees nothing remotely odd about parking broadside in the centre lane of Jalan Sudirman, debating the advisability of continuing on to grandmother's. Naturally the engine and the lights are switched off to save fuel, everyone will be wearing dark clothing and the Vespa, of course, will be painted dark blue.

On the subject of night driving, prudence dictates that all the lights on the vehicle be functioning. Correct? No! Your foreign preconceptions are showing again. Headlights, commonly used in the West to illuminate the road ahead, have a quite different function in Indonesia. At night the high beam does the same job as the horn does in the daytime.

It is imperative to remember this. After dark, high beam is used as a high-powered laser beam death-ray, capable of evaporating whole lines of slow, incompetent drivers who have the audacity to be ahead of you. Accomplished light-flashers can produce the same results as their daytime compatriots, completely dissolving several vehicles at a time.

Many late-model cars have a high-beam flasher switch developed specifically for Indonesian drivers. Properly handled, it produces an effect not unlike the muzzle flash of a 30mm cannon. The overall impression received from the rear view mirror (if you forget yourself and look) is that some kind of WWII fighter has descended to an altitude of two feet above the road surface behind you, and has the gun button pushed down hard . The only defence against such an attack is hard acceleration, whilst weaving in and out of the traffic, in order to place some other hapless victim between you and the enemy, or hard braking while swerving sharply to one side, hoping the enemy will over-run, in which case you fly in behind him under full throttle, flashing YOUR lights.

In all cases, the message is the same; "I am a person of consequence, therefore I should go first". If in doubt, get out of his way, unless you are successful with the evasion tactics mentioned, in which case he is supposed to get out of yours.

Not that he will, of course. Foreigners are expected to weaken first, having neither the hardened nerves nor the simple faith of the local drivers. Also, most of us know a little about Indonesian hospitals.

For those wishing to go further the Advanced Driver Bulletin is also available. This deals with driving outside Jakarta and includes the following essential sections:

- Intercity Buses: multiple overtaking habits on blind corners
- Angkots: what they are and why they do it so often
- Children, Buffaloes, and lesser domestic animals: which one to hit if you have a choice
- Traffic Policemen: how to meet them and what they cost
- Navigation: navigating from mosque to mosque by the noise they make
- Brain Death: its relation to Indonesian Truck Drivers
- High Beams: how to keep oncoming traffic blind and guessing.
30174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: April 26, 2004, 01:53:46 AM
Woof All:

I rarely read twaddle such as Newspeak, but the following resonates with things I have read elsewhere.

Crafty
====================

@Date:    Apr 25, 2004 10:37 PM
From newsweek

The Human Cost
They were sent to fight for their country. But some GIs didn't have all they needed to protect themselves
 
U.S. Air Force-thememoryhole.org
Resting place:  A soldier prepares coffins of U.S. military personnel returning home at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware  

By Melinda Liu, John Barry and Michael Hirsh
Newsweek

May 3 issue - The inaugural mission of the 1st Cavalry's 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment was, in its humble way, a bid for hearts and minds. It was to safely dispose of Iraqi sewage. Having arrived in Iraq in late March, a 19-man patrol from the battalion, traveling in four Humvees, had just finished escorting three Iraqi "honey wagons" on their rounds in the grim slum of Sadr City, where vendors stash eggs and chickens in bamboo crates next to puddles of viscous black mud. ("You're lucky if it's mud," joked one U.S. officer.) Suddenly the street became "a 300-meter-long kill zone," recalls platoon leader Sgt. Shane Aguero, courtesy of gunmen from the Mahdi militia of Shiite rebel Moqtada al-Sadr. The Humvees swerved and ran onto sidewalks, rolling on the rims of flat tires, as gunmen kept up the barrage of bullets. Sgt. Yihjyh (Eddie) Chen, gunner in the lead vehicle, was shot dead. Another soldier was hit and began bleeding from the mouth.

 
And their trouble was just beginning. Two of the Humvees became disabled. Aguero yelled at one driver to gun the engine to get his Humvee moving. The engine fell out. As they'd been drilled to do, the soldiers set out to strip the disabled vehicles of sensitive items and to "zee off the radio"?to see that codes and equipment don't fall into enemy hands. When another group got ambushed nearby, an enemy round came through the Humvee's right rear door?through retrofitted panels that the soldiers had been told would repel AK-47 rounds. Miraculously, none of the three people inside were hit. Then a third Humvee sputtered to a halt: debris had pierced the fuel tank. "It just wouldn't start; we coasted the last 50 yards out of the kill zone," said its driver, Spc. Dee Foster. At last an armored Bradley fighting vehicle arrived, and its steel ramp opened to scoop him and his buddies to safety.

 
For the Bush administration it has been a mantra, one the president intones repeatedly: America's troops will get whatever they need to do the job. But as Iraq's liberation has turned into a daily grind of low-intensity combat?and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld grudgingly raises troop levels?many soldiers who are there say the Pentagon is failing to protect them with the best technology America has to offer. Especially tanks, Bradleys and other heavy vehicles, even in some cases body armor. That has been the tragic lesson of April, a month in which a record 115 U.S. soldiers have died so far and 879 others have been wounded, 560 of them fairly seriously. Those numbers greatly exceed the tallies in the combat-heavy weeks of the invasion last spring. And the impact of those deaths was felt more fully last week when blogger Russ Kick, after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, won the release of photos showing coffins returning to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.


Soldiers in Iraq complain that Washington has been too slow to acknowledge that the Iraqi insurgency consists of more than "dead-enders." And even at the Pentagon many officers say Rumsfeld and his brass have been too reluctant to modify their long-term plans for a lighter military. On the battlefield, that has translated into a lack of armor. Perhaps the most telling example: a year ago the Pentagon had more than 400 main battle tanks in Iraq; as of recently, a senior Defense official told NEWSWEEK, there was barely a brigade's worth of operational tanks still there. (A brigade usually has about 70 tanks.)

In continuing adherence to the Army's "light is better" doctrine, even units recently rotated to Iraq have left most of their armor behind. These include the I Marine Expeditionary Force, which has paid dearly for that decision with an astonishing 30 percent-plus casualties (45 killed, more than 300 wounded) in Fallujah and Ar Ramadi. The Army's 1st Cavalry Division?which includes the unit in Sadr City?left five of every six of its tanks at home, and five of every six Bradleys.

A breakdown of the casualty figures suggests that many U.S. deaths and wounds in Iraq simply did not need to occur. According to an unofficial study by a defense consultant that is now circulating through the Army, of a total of 789 Coalition deaths as of April 15 (686 of them Americans), 142 were killed by land mines or improvised explosive devices, while 48 others died in rocket-propelled-grenade attacks. Almost all those soldiers were killed while in unprotected vehicles, which means that perhaps one in four of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had had stronger armor around them, the study suggested. Thousands more who were unprotected have suffered grievous wounds, such as the loss of limbs.

 
 
The military is 1,800 armored Humvees short of its own stated requirement for Iraq. Despite desperate attempts to supply bolt-on armor, many soldiers still ride around in light-skinned Humvees. This is a latter-day jeep that, as Brig. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, assistant division commander of the 1st Armored Division, conceded in an interview, "was never designed to do this ... It was never anticipated that we would have things like roadside bombs in the vast number that we've had here." One newly arrived officer, Lt. Col. Timothy Meredith, says his battalion had just undergone months of training to rid itself of "tank habits" and get used to the Humvees. "We arrived here expecting to do a lot of civil works," says Meredith.

 
 
According to internal Pentagon e-mails obtained by NEWSWEEK, the Humvee situation is so bad that the head of the U.S. Army Forces Command, Gen. Larry Ellis, has urged that more of the new Stryker combat vehicles be put into the field. Sources say that the Army brass back in Washington have not yet concurred with that. The problem: the rubber-tire Strykers are thin-skinned and don't maneuver through dangerous streets as well as the fast-pivoting, treaded Bradley. According to a well-placed Defense Department source, the Army is so worried about the Stryker's vulnerability that most of the 300-vehicle brigade currently in Iraq has been deployed up in the safer Kurdish region around Mosul. "Any further south, and the Army was afraid the Arabs would light them up," he said.

A shortage of armored Humvees has led some soldiers to secure vehicle walls and floors with sandbags or steel plates. Three widely used transport vehicles:
? THE HUMVEE
 ? THE STRYKER  
 ? THE BRADLEY FIGHTER
 
 
 
THE HUMVEE
Safety: "Up-armored" models come with reinforced windshields and walls.
Cost: $50,000 each
Military owns: 35,000
 
 
THE STRYKER
Safety: Has a thicker steel shell for land?ine safety but is vulnerable to larger explosions.
Cost: $1.4 million each
Military owns: 2,100
 
 
THE BRADLEY FIGHTER
Safety: Welded aluminum walls; new model has steel?armor tiles for blast protection.
Cost: $3.17 million each
Military owns: 6,719
 
 
 
Source: Federation of American Scientists, Periscope  


Other quick fixes are being rushed in. In Ohio, O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt Armoring Co. says it is flush with new orders to crank out 300 "up-armored" Humvees per month. And Rumsfeld has just approved a quiet plan to fly 28 M1A1 tanks from Germany into Iraq by April 27, NEWSWEEK has learned. The move comes as the military is planning for a final assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. Meanwhile, soldiers are rushing to jury-rig their Humvees with anything hard they can find: bolt-on armor, sandbags, even plywood panels, creating what one senior officer calls "Mad Max-mobiles." But Pentagon sources say many of the retrofitted Humvees cannot take the extra weight, and their suspension or transmission systems fail. Another method is to spray shock-absorbing polyurethane foam?one popular brand name is called Rhino?to the inside or outside of unarmored vehicles.

 
The biggest problem, perhaps, is that the insurgents?whoever they are?continue to be quick to spot vulnerabilities. It is probably no coincidence that attacks have picked up significantly in April as the Marines, the 1st Cav and other fresh?and untried?troops have rotated in. U.S. bomb-disposal personnel generally succeed in discovering and disarming about half of the homemade bombs that are planted. In March, an estimated 600 to 700 attacks involving homemade devices were either discovered or foiled. In April, one administration source said, as many as 1,000 homemade bomb attacks have been attempted.

The need for more armor?and possibly troops?erupted as an issue on Capitol Hill last week in combative hearings of the Senate and House Armed Services committees. "We are not structured for the security environment we're in," Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers told senators and congressmen, including some angry Republicans. As part of his 2005 budget request, Rumsfeld had originally cut the Army budget by 6 percent. But the Army has identified nearly $6 billion in unfunded requests?and more are on the way. "The costs are going to be staggering," says Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat who has pestered the Pentagon for months for better estimates. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the House committee that military operations in Iraq are now costing about $4.7 billion a month?a sum that approaches the $5 billion a month (on average) that the Vietnam War cost, adjusted for inflation.

Sen. John McCain says the Pentagon needs an additional division beyond the 20,000 men it is leaving in Iraq for 90-day extensions. Another senator and Vietnam vet, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, even suggested the nation might have to take a long-term look at reviving the draft. Few others went that far, but one knowledgeable Army officer points out that Rumsfeld's standing "stop-loss" order?basically a freeze on retirements?is a "silent draft." It is not expected to be lifted "for the foreseeable future," the officer said. On Capitol Hill, Myers spoke of transforming old field-artillery and air-defense battalions into new units. But the Pentagon has yet to come to grips with its armor crisis?or its human cost.

With Babak Dehghanpisheh in Baghdad, Mark Hosenball and Tamara Lipper in Washington and T. Trent Gegax in New York

? 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
30175  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Himalaya on: April 26, 2004, 01:14:28 AM
Woof All:

As some of you may know, I have a big interest in things having to do with pre-modern man-- in part as a window into our evolutionary pyschological make-up.

I have just seen a quite remarkable movie called Himalaya, directed by Eric Valli (2000) shot entirely in Nepal with native non-acotrs telling a remarkable story.  Rarely does a film take you so completely to a world you will never know.  Highly recommended.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 23, 2004, 10:55:31 AM
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
22 April 2004

The Al Fallujah Cease-Fire and the Three-Way Game

Summary

U.S. forces have reached a written cease-fire agreement with Sunni guerrillas operating in Al Fallujah. More than ending -- or at least suspending -- the battles in Al Fallujah, the cease-fire has turned the political situation in Iraq on its head, with the United States now positioned strategically between the majority Shia and the Sunni insurgents.

Analysis

The United States and the Sunni guerrillas in Iraq agreed to an extended cease-fire in Al Fallujah on April 19. Most media treated the news as important. It was, in fact, extraordinary. The fact that either force -- U.S. or Iraqi -- would have considered negotiating with the other represents an astounding evolution on both sides. For the first time in the guerrilla war, the United States and the guerrillas went down what a Marine general referred to as a "political track." That a political track has emerged between these two adversaries represents a stunning evolution. Even if it goes no further -- and even if the cease-fire in Al Fallujah collapses -- it represents a massive shift in policy on both sides.

To be precise, the document that was signed April 19 was between U.S. military forces and civilian leaders in the city. That distinction having been made, it is clear that the civilian leaders were authorized by the guerrillas to negotiate a cease- fire. The proof of that can be found in the fact that the leaders are still alive and were not executed by the guerrillas for betraying the purity of their cause. It is also clear that the Americans believe these leaders speak for the guerrillas in some definitive way; otherwise, there would have been no point to the negotiations. Thus the distinction between civilian and guerrilla in Al Fallujah is not entirely meaningful.

The willingness of the United States to negotiate with the guerrillas is the most significant evolution. If we recall the U.S. view of the guerrilla movement in May and June 2003, the official position was that there was no guerrilla movement, that there were only the uncoordinated remnants of the old regime, bandits and renegades. The idea of negotiating anything with this group was inconceivable for both ideological and practical reasons. A group as uncoordinated as Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld portrayed them could not negotiate -- or be negotiated with -- under any circumstances. We believed then that the Sunni guerrillas were an organized movement preplanned by the Iraqis, and we believe now -- obviously -- that their organization has improved over time. It has certainly become an army that can be addressed as a cohesive entity and negotiated with.

More important is the fact that both sides felt constrained -- at least in this limited circumstance -- to negotiate. In that sense, each side was defeated by the other. The United States conceded that it could not unilaterally impose its will on Al Fallujah. There are political and military reasons for this. Politically, the collateral damage of house-to-house fighting would have had significant political consequences for Iraq, the alliance and the United States. The guerrillas could not have been defeated without a significant number of civilian casualties. Militarily, the United States has no desire to engage in urban combat. Casualties among U.S. troops would have been high, and the forces doing the fighting would have been exhausted. At a time of substantial troop shortages, the level of effort needed to pacify Al Fallujah would have represented a substantial burden. The guerrillas had posed a politico-military problem that could not readily be solved unilaterally.

It was also a defeat for the guerrillas. Their political position has been unalterable opposition to the United States, and an uncompromising struggle to defeat the Americans. They have presented themselves not only as ready to die, but also as representing an Iraq that was ready to die with them. At the very least, it is clear that the citizens of Al Fallujah were ready neither to die nor to endure the siege the United States was prepared to impose. At most, the guerrillas themselves, trapped inside Al Fallujah, chose to negotiate an exit, even if it meant surrendering heavy weapons -- including machine guns -- and even if it meant that they could no longer use Al Fallujah as a battleground. Whether it was the civilians or the guerrillas that drove for settlement, someone settled -- and the settlement included the guerrillas.

The behavior of the guerrillas indicates to us that their numbers and resources are not as deep as it might appear. The guerrillas are not cowards. Cowards don't take on U.S. Marines. Forcing the United States into house-to-house fighting would have been logical -- unless the guerrillas in Al Fallujah represented a substantial proportion of the guerrilla fighting force and had to be retained. If that were the case, it would indicate that the guerrillas are afraid of battles of annihilation that they cannot recover from. Obviously, there is strong anti-American feeling in Iraq, but the difference between throwing a rock or a grenade and carrying out the effective, coordinated warfare of the professional guerrilla is training. Enthusiasm does not create soldiers. Training takes time and secure bases. It is likely that the guerrillas have neither, so -- with substantial forces trapped in Al Fallujah -- they had to negotiate their way out.

In short, both sides have hit a wall of reality. The American belief that there was no guerrilla force -- or that the guerrillas had been crushed in December 2003 -- is simply not true. If the United States wants to crush the guerrillas, U.S. troops will have to go into Al Fallujah and other towns and fight house to house. On the other hand, the guerrilla wish for a rising wave of unrest to break the American will simply has not come true. The forces around Al Fallujah were substantial, were not deterred by political moves and could come in and wipe them out. That was not an acceptable prospect.

Al Fallujah demonstrates three things: First, it demonstrates that under certain circumstances, a political agreement --however limited -- can be negotiated between the United States and the guerrillas. Second, it demonstrates that the United States is aware of the limits of its power and is now open, for the first time, to some sort of political resolution -- even if it means dealing with the guerrillas. Third, it demonstrates that the guerrillas are aware of the limits of their power, and are implicitly prepared for some solution short of complete, immediate victory. The question is where this all goes.

To begin with, it could go nowhere. First, the cease-fire could be a guerrilla trap. As U.S. forces begin the joint patrols with Iraqi police that were agreed to, the guerrillas could hit them, ending the cease-fire. Second, the cease-fire could break down because of a lack of coordination among the guerrillas, dissident groups, or a U.S. decision to use the cease-fire as a cover for penetrating the city and resuming operations. Third, the cease-fire could work in Al Fallujah but not be applied anywhere else. The whole thing could be a flash in the pan. On the other hand, if the Al Fallujah cease-fire holds, a precedent is set that could expand.

In 1973, after the cease-fire in the Arab-Israeli war, Israeli and Egyptian troops held positions too close to each other for comfort. A disengagement was necessary. In what was then an extraordinary event, Israeli and Egyptian military leaders met at a point in the road called Kilometer 101. In face-to-face negotiations, days after guns fell silent in a brutal war, the combatants -- not the politicians -- mediated by the United States, reached a limited technical agreement for disengaging forces in that particular instance, and only in that instance. In our view, the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt were framed at Kilometer 101. If disengagement could be negotiated, the logic held that other things could be negotiated as well.

There were powerful political forces driving toward a settlement as well, and the military imperative was simply the cutting edge.  But there are also powerful political forces in Iraq. The United States clearly does not want an interminable civil war in Iraq.  The jihadists -- the foreign Islamist militants -- obviously do want that. But the view of the Sunni guerrillas might be different. They have other enemies besides the Americans -- they have the Shia. The Sunnis have as little desire to be dominated by the Shia as the Shia have to be dominated by the Sunnis. In that aversion, there is political opportunity. Unlike the foreign jihadists, the native Sunni guerrillas are not ideologically opposed to negotiating with the Shia -- or the Americans.

The Role of the Shia

The United States has banked heavily on the cooperation of the Shia. It reached agreement with the Shia to allow them a Shiite-dominated government. After the December 2003 suppression of the Sunni guerrillas, Washington cooled a bit on the deal. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani demanded elections, which he knew the Shia would win. Washington insisted on a prefabricated government that limited Shiite power and would frame the new constitution, leading to elections. Al-Sistani suspected that the new constitution would be written so as to deny the Shia what the United States had promised.

Al-Sistani first demanded elections. The United States refused to budge. He then called huge demonstrations. The United States refused to budge. Then Muqtada al-Sadr -- who is either al-Sistani's mortal enemy, his tool or both -- rose up in the south.  Al-Sistani was showing the United States that -- without him and the Shia -- the U.S. position in Iraq would become untenable. He made an exceptionally good case. The United States approached al-Sistani urgently to intercede, but -- outstanding negotiator that he is -- al-Sistani refused to budge for several days, during which it appeared that all of Iraq was exploding. Then, he quietly interceded and al-Sadr -- trapped with relatively limited forces, isolated from the Shiite main body and facing the United States -- began to look for a way out. Al-Sistani appeared to have proven his point to the United States: Without the Shia, the United States cannot remain in Iraq. Without al-Sistani, the Shia will become unmanageable.

From al-Sistani's point of view, there was a three-player game in Iraq -- fragments notwithstanding -- and the Shia were the swing players, with the Sunnis and Americans at each other's throats.  In any three-player game, the swing player is in the strongest position. Al-Sistani, able to swing between the Americans and the Sunnis, was the most powerful figure in Iraq. So long as the Americans and Sunnis remained locked in that position, al-Sistani would win.

The Sunnis did not want to see a Shiite-dominated Iraq. So long as al-Sistani was talking to the Americans and they were not, the choice was between a long, difficult, uncertain war and capitulation. The Sunnis had to change the terms of the game. What they signaled to al-Sistani was that if he continued to negotiate with the United States and not throw in with the guerrillas, they would have no choice but to open a line of communication with the Americans as well. Al Fallujah proved not only that they would -- but more importantly -- that they could.

From the U.S. point of view, the hostility between Sunnis and Shia is the bedrock of the occupation. They cannot permit the two players to unite against them. Nor can they allow the Shia to become too powerful or for the Americans to become their prisoners. While al-Sistani was coolly playing his hand, it became clear to the Americans that they needed additional options. Otherwise, the only two outcomes they faced here were a Sunni-Shiite alliance against them or becoming the prisoner of the Shia.

By opening negotiations with the Sunnis, the Americans sent a stunning message to the Shia: The idea of negotiation with the Sunnis is not out of the question. In fact, by completing the cease-fire agreement before agreement was reached over al-Sadr's forces in An Najaf, the United States pointed out that it was, at the moment, easier to deal with the Sunnis than with the Shia. This increased pressure on al-Sistani, who saw for the first time a small indicator that his position was not as unassailably powerful as he thought.

The New Swing Player

The Al Fallujah cease-fire has started -- emphasis on "started" -- a process whereby the United States moves to become the swing player, balancing between Sunnis and Shia. Having reached out to the Sunnis to isolate the Americans and make them more forthcoming, the Shia now face the possibility of "arrangements" -- not agreements, not treaties, not a settlement -- between U.S. and Sunni forces that put realities in place, out of which broader understandings might gradually emerge.

In the end, the United States has limited interest in Iraq, but the Iraqis -- Sunnis and Shia alike -- are not going anywhere. They are going to have to deal with each other, although they do not trust each other -- and with good reason. Neither trusts the United States, but the United States will eventually leave. In the meantime, the United States could be exceedingly useful in cementing Sunni or Shiite power over each other. Neither side wants to wind up dominated by the other. Neither wants the Americans to stay in Iraq permanently, but the United States does not want to stay permanently either. A few years hardly makes a major difference in an area where history is measured in millennia.

The simple assumption is that most Iraqis want the Americans out. That is a true statement, but not a sufficient one. A truer statement is this: Most Iraqis want the Americans out, but are extremely interested in what happens after they leave. Given that, the proper statement is: Most Iraqis want the Americans out, but are prepared to use the Americans toward their ends while they are there, and want them to leave in a manner that will maximize their own interests in a postwar Iraqi world.

That is the lever that the Americans have, and that they seem to have been playing in the past year. It is a long step down from the days when the Department of Defense skirmished with the State Department about which of them would govern postwar Iraq, on the assumption that those were the only choices. Unpleasant political choices will have to be made in Iraq, but the United States now has a standpoint from which to manipulate the situation and remain in Iraq while it exerts pressure in the region. In the end -- grand ambitions notwithstanding -- that is what the United States came for in the first place.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.stratfor.com
30177  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Brand new pup needs equpment advice...... on: April 18, 2004, 09:36:32 AM
Woof:

In conjunction with Pappy Dog (of KIL) we will be establishing our own line of training gear, including sticks, here on this website in the next few weeks.

In Ohio, there is my friend Jeff Brown's school in Dayton Ohio.   937-435-5500   Amongst his many credentials (under Guro Inosanto, Herman Suwanda, Myung Gyi and others) he is a DBMA Apprentice Instructor.  A very well qualified man and highly recommended.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30178  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: April 17, 2004, 01:35:21 AM
"In November 1923, a puppy was born in Akita Prefecture which showed great promise of being of true Akita type.  At the age of two months it was sent to Professor Eizaburo Ueno in Tokyo, who had long coveted a fine Akita dog.  The Professor named the puppy Hachi, and called him Hachi-ko.  At that time, Professor's Ueno's residence was in a suburb of Tokyo in the vicinity of Shibuya Station, and he commuted by train from that station to the agricultural experimental station at Nishikebara where he worked.  Hachi-ko accompanied his master in the morning and in the evening as he went to and from work.  On May 21, 1925, when Hachi-ko was one and one-half years old, he was at Shibuya Station as usual, waiting for his master's arrival on the four o'clock train.  Professor Ueno would in fact never arrive, as he had been struck down by a fatal stroke at the University that day.  Hachi-ko was cared for by relatives and friends of the family, but he continued to go to Shibuya Station each day to await his master's arrival.  Hachi-ko's vigil continued until March 8, 1934, when at the age of 11 years and 4 months he died, still waiting in vain for the return of his beloved master."
30179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: April 16, 2004, 03:53:23 PM
A Call to Action:

Our troops are out there for us.  From today's WSJ, here's something we can do.

Woof,
Crafty Dog

Want a piece of the action? Spirit of America's project with the First Marine Division, and how to donate, is at www.spiritofamerica.net, or directly at www.spiritofamerica.net/req_12/request.html or 800-691-2209.
===================

Spirit of America
Here's a way you can help the cause in Iraq.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, April 16, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Thus spake George W. Bush this week: "The people of our country are united behind our men and women in uniform, and this government will do all that is necessary to assure the success of their historic mission." Still, many Americans who support the war don't much like sitting on their hands doing little more than watch it on TV. Some have written here, asking what they can do to help. This column will describe a real project that lets the folks at home lend a hand to the soldiers in Iraq.

Over the past year, a successful technology entrepreneur named Jim Hake has been working with the Marine Corps to help their reconstruction projects in Iraq. The Marines identify local equipment needs, and Mr. Hake's organization, Spirit of America, after raising the money, acquires the stuff, typically for schools and medical clinics. It flies directly out of Camp Pendleton in California. Jim Hake and the Marines are a coalition of the can-do, bypassing the slow U.S. procurement bureaucracy. More on that effort in a moment. Here's where you come in:

The First Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Army in Iraq want to equip and upgrade seven defunct Iraqi-owned TV stations in Al Anbar province--west of Baghdad--so that average Iraqis have better televised information than the propaganda they get from the notorious Al-Jazeera. If Jim Hake can raise $100,000, his Spirit of America will buy the equipment in the U.S., ship it to the Marines in Iraq and get Iraqi-run TV on the air before the June 30 handover.

Now we are getting somewhere. Since day one, the Coalition Provisional Authority's weakest suit has been the war of ideas, images and public relations. Into this use-it-or-lose-it void stepped Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV operation that somehow has wires running to every camcorder in the Arab terrorist world. Punch in english.aljazeera.net for a look at "news" from Iraq spun tirelessly against the coalition. Its photos of "Falluja after the siege" are preposterous, depicting nothing but "destroyed homes" and ominous GIs. The text: "As we drive through the back roads on the way to Falluja, U.S. jets are pounding the area around the tiny village of Garma."

If this hooey is what they feed to the English-language audience, imagine the daily TV diet Al-Jazeera trowels on for Iraqis. Al-Jazeera's Web site Wednesday said it wouldn't air the video of an Italian hostage's murder "in order not to upset viewers' sensitivities." Hours later, I heard an all-news radio in New York recite verbatim Al-Jazeera's tender account.

If the Marines can get these moribund stations back on the air, the coverage area would include Fallujah and Ramadi. The VHF/UHF stations are owned as cooperatives by TV-competent Iraqis already vetted by the Army. Some broadcast Al-Jazeera for lack of other content. In return for the upgrades, the Iraqi operators would be asked two things: Criticism is fine, but don't run anti-coalition propaganda; and let the Marines buy air time to broadcast public-service announcements, such as the reopening of schools or clinics--or indeed, pending military operations.

I can hear the chorus of lamentations about "independence" and "objectivity." Get real. We're in Iraq, not Kansas, Toto. These Iraqis, aided by American soldiers, are manifestly engaged in a death-struggle for their nation. Anyone who has the courage to produce daily television at odds with the goals of the homicidal "insurgents" doesn't need tutorials on journalistic piety from us.

Jim Hake's organizational insight is to deploy the best practices of the modern U.S. economy--efficiency and speed--around the margins of the Iraqi war effort. The Amazons, Best Buys, FedExes and DHLs can get anything anywhere--fast. Why not use the same all-American skill at procurement efficiency and quick distribution to get the soldiers in Iraq (and Afghanistan) the stuff that government red tape will never provide in time?

His operation, in Los Angeles, is wholly New Economy. For past projects he's gotten the word out via Web loggers such as Glenn Reynolds's InstaPundit.com, windsofchange.net and hughhewitt.com. Mr. Hake finds low-cost suppliers on the Internet and negotiates prices. His donor network also suggests suppliers.

Earlier projects for the Marines flew over cargo planes of school supplies, basic medical equipment and toys (turns out Iraqi children love Frisbees). One anecdote: The day before the school equipment was to ship, they found that all the pencils broke easily. On a hunch, Mr. Hake made a morning call to a Staples manager in southern California. By midafternoon the Staples man lined up sources for 120,000 pencils--cheaper than the original buy. Mr. Hake bought and shipped them. Spirit of America is all-volunteer. The accounting for its projects, down to the penny, is listed on the Web site.

Spirit of America's buy-list for the Marines' TV-stations project includes digital video camcorders, desktop PCs for video editing, video editing software, televisions, 21-inch satellite dishes, KU-band universal transponders, satellite decoder/receivers, Philips audio/video selectors (4-in/2-out), VCRs (PAL and NTSC compatible), DVD players (multiregion compatible), step-down voltage converters (220 to 110) and lighting sets. The cost of this equipment is about $100,000.

Mr. Hake, incidentally, insists on paying for all the goods in his projects. He says donor relationships with big companies waste time getting sign-offs by senior management. I asked if he thought they could get the TV stations under way by the June 30 handover: "Absolutely. My goal is to have the gear at Pendleton by May 7. The Marines will fly it over and they are ready to get going on this. Needless to say, plans can always change in a combat zone but this is an undertaking to help turn the tide there." If this works, the Marines and Spirit of America hope to rebuild TV stations elsewhere around Iraq.

Want a piece of the action? Spirit of America's project with the First Marine Division, and how to donate, is at www.spiritofamerica.net, or directly at www.spiritofamerica.net/req_12/request.html or 800-691-2209. It's brand extension of the Marines' now-famous saying: "No better friend, no worse enemy."

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
30180  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / STICK FIGHTING FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS on: April 16, 2004, 02:46:18 PM
Woof All:

The Canary Islands are in the Atlantic Ocean and are part of Spain.  My student Alfonso has been exploring them for some time now (as has DBMA Group Leader Jose Antonio of Tenerife, Canary Islands) and I have been an interested observer.  

What I have seen seems to me to have considerable merit.

Woof,
Crafty Dog

PD:  Alfonso-- posiblemente quisieras anadir donde y cuando sera' el seminario  wink
30181  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 16, 2004, 11:23:41 AM
All:

"possibly LaCoste, as crafty indicated. but, then again there are newer groups that developed like Sayoc Kali, Atienza Kali, etc that have adopted Kali also. but, i think we should just concentrate to the folks who used Kali around the 40s and 50s. so, Villabrille/Largusa is what we have so far."

Actually I think I should say LaCoste with certainty.

"as for Edgar Sulite... didn't he credit only two Masters for his art? namely, Caballero (from Cebu) and Ilustrisimo (from Cebu)? both do not and have never used Kali.  the question would be: where and when did Sulite come to use Kali? if, indeed, in Mindanao, where in Mindanao and which group or groups in particular?"

The point here is not that Sulite used Kali for Lameco-- he didn't-- but that he was an unusually broadly trained and travelled man in FMA throughout the RP, as evinced by his "Masters of Arnis, Kali & Eskrima" and that what he said as described nearby above, should be seen in that light.  For him the term Kali was a legitimate indigenous term.  Historians make of it what you will.

C.
30182  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 15, 2004, 07:16:40 PM
Woof S:

S. wrote:

"I'm do not know if Mirafuente ever went to Hawaii or the US. I just remember reading somewhere before that he somehow used a Filipino Community newsletter published in the US as his reference."

God, that's even more slender a historical basis than we Kali people are accused of using!  cheesy  

"but can anyone tell me which Stockton masters and schools refer to their art as Kali? Crafty?"

I coulda swore that this was covered in the last couple of pages , , ,  wink  

Anyway, another one from the Eskrima Digest in reponse to a comment of mine:

BEGIN:

2. Transcript from either Laban Laro or into the
Vortex by P.G. Sulite. I do not have access to my
video tapes, they are packed for moving. I am relying
on my notes for this so if the exact wording is not
correct please excuse. I personally believe it to be
very close as I am generally pretty thorough with my
notes. Begin!


"Hi I am PG Edgar Sulite. founder of Lameco Escrima
Intl. Lameco means Largo, Medio, Corto. Or Long Range,
Medium Range and Close range. It is a combination of
the various styles which I have studied in the
Phillipines from the different Grandmasters.

********BTW, don't be confused with Kali, Arnis or
Escrima because it means the same. We have more than
87 languages in the country. In the Phillipines and
the most popular language that we call in ourFilipino
Martial Arts in mindinao is called Kali. In Visayas it
is called Escrima. In uhhh, uhhh Luzon it is called
Arnis but it means the same so don't be confused with
it's name. Others call it Pagkalikali, others call it
Pananandata. It depends on the provinces, the dialect
that these people are using. Now this is like my name.
I am Edgar Sulite. My middle name is (missed it),
Edgar(xxxx)Sulite. So I have three names, in one
personality, so it means the same. Kali, Arnis or
Escrima. Other people will say " Oh I am practcing in
Kali" and other people will say "I am only practicing
Escrima." No don't be confusedabout it cause it all
means the same. Now we will start with the
basics....******
End of transcript.
I further find it interesting that the Art in question
is Lameco Escrima, yet throughout the tape PG,
constantly uses the term Kali to indicate what he does
and as reference to indicate subject.

Phil Hurcum

END

WHAT SAY YOU ALL?

Additionally, while in Germany at Dieter K and Alfred P's big shindig last month, I sat next to one of the Filipinos who was there to teach he said he was a Cebuano living in Mindanoa and that the term Kali was used.  He then proceded to give me a patch of his system and it used Kali.  Forgive me please for not remembering his name or system off the top of my head, but at the moment my wife and I are quite busy getting ready for a 10 day trip to backwater Peru with our two young children to visit their grandmother where she does good works and I don't have the time to go look for the patch or track down which instructor it was.

Additionally, one of the first things that Roland Dantes said to me upon our meeting was about how the term was legit-- thus confirming an email I had received by someone unknown to me purporting be his student some time ago to that effect.

ATTENTION:  I SEEK TO PERSUADE NO ONE.  I CLAIM NO HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE.  There are many who do and who claim historical certainty that the term Kali, which is part of my vocabulary, is a fraud perpetrated by certain indivuduals and certain groups which was propagated by the gullible.  For those sincerely interested in exploring for the truth, as versus being right about conclusions previously made, I have proffered the Mirafuente intro here.  

It seems logical to me to say that the 1951 Mirafuente intro raises a legitimate question to the fraud hypothesis.     Against Mirafuentes it so far all we have HERE SO FAR is a vague recolllection that even if true, IMHO, seems to challenge plausibility a bit.  

For those sincerely interested in exploring for the truth we also have here PG Sulite's words.  If you knew him, or know of him and where we he came from and who he was, you will give these words fair weight.

As for the additional info, give it what weight you will.  It matters not to me.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 15, 2004, 11:26:44 AM
Woof All:

This one is quite long.  I recommend it highly.

Crafty
=================

The Fruits of Appeasement
Victor Davis Hanson

Imagine a different November 4, 1979, in Teheran. Shortly after Iranian terrorists storm the American embassy and take some 90 American hostages, President Jimmy Carter announces that Islamic fundamentalism is not a legitimate response to the excess of the Shah but a new and dangerous fascism that threatens all that liberal society holds dear. And then he issues an ultimatum to Teheran?s leaders: Release the captives or face a devastating military response.

When that demand is not met, instead of freezing Iran?s assets, stopping the importation of its oil, or seeking support at the UN, Carter orders an immediate blockade of the country, followed by promises to bomb, first, all of its major military assets, and then its main government buildings and residences of its ruling mullocracy. The Ayatollah Khomeini may well have called his bluff; we may well have tragically lost the hostages (151 fewer American lives than the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would take four years later in a single day in Lebanon). And there may well have been the sort of chaos in Teheran that we now witness in Baghdad. But we would have seen it all in 1979?and not in 2001, after almost a quarter-century of continuous Middle East terrorism, culminating in the mass murder of 3,000 Americans and the leveling of the World Trade Center.

The twentieth century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants. British and French restraint over the occupation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, the absorption of the Czech Sudetenland, and the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia did not win gratitude but rather Hitler?s contempt for their weakness. Fifty million dead, the Holocaust, and the near destruction of European civilization were the wages of ?appeasement??a term that early-1930s liberals proudly embraced as far more enlightened than the old idea of ?deterrence? and ?military readiness.?

So too did Western excuses for the Russians? violation of guarantees of free elections in postwar Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia only embolden the Soviet Union. What eventually contained Stalinism was the Truman Doctrine, NATO, and nuclear deterrence?not the United Nations?and what destroyed its legacy was Ronald Reagan?s assertiveness, not Jimmy Carter?s accommodation or Richard Nixon?s d?tente.

As long ago as the fourth century b.c., Demosthenes warned how complacency and self-delusion among an affluent and free Athenian people allowed a Macedonian thug like Philip II to end some four centuries of Greek liberty?and in a mere 20 years of creeping aggrandizement down the Greek peninsula. Thereafter, these historical lessons should have been clear to citizens of any liberal society: we must neither presume that comfort and security are our birthrights and are guaranteed without constant sacrifice and vigilance, nor expect that peoples outside the purview of bourgeois liberalism share our commitment to reason, tolerance, and enlightened self-interest.

Most important, military deterrence and the willingness to use force against evil in its infancy usually end up, in the terrible arithmetic of war, saving more lives than they cost. All this can be a hard lesson to relearn each generation, especially now that we contend with the sirens of the mall, Oprah, and latte. Our affluence and leisure are as antithetical to the use of force as rural life and relative poverty once were catalysts for muscular action. The age-old lure of appeasement?perhaps they will cease with this latest concession, perhaps we provoked our enemies, perhaps demonstrations of our future good intentions will win their approval?was never more evident than in the recent Spanish elections, when an affluent European electorate, reeling from the horrific terrorist attack of 3/11, swept from power the pro-U.S. center-right government on the grounds that the mass murders were more the fault of the United States for dragging Spain into the effort to remove fascists and implant democracy in Iraq than of the primordial al-Qaidist culprits, who long ago promised the Western and Christian Iberians ruin for the Crusades and the Reconquista.

What went wrong with the West?and with the United States in particular?when not just the classical but especially the recent antecedents to September 11, from the Iranian hostage-taking to the attack on the USS Cole, were so clear? Though Americans in an election year, legitimately concerned about our war dead, may now be divided over the Iraqi occupation, polls nevertheless show a surprising consensus that the many precursors to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were acts of war, not police matters. Roll the tape backward from the USS Cole in 2000, through the bombing of the Khobar Towers and the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the destruction of the American embassy and annex in Beirut in 1983, the mass murder of 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers asleep in their Lebanese barracks that same year, and assorted kidnappings and gruesome murders of American citizens and diplomats (including TWA Flight 800, Pan Am 103, William R. Higgins, Leon Klinghoffer, Robert Dean Stethem, and CIA operative William Francis Buckley), until we arrive at the Iranian hostage-taking of November 1979: that debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy, and Middle East state terrorism?and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it, and go to war against it.

That lapse, worth meditating upon in this 25th anniversary year of Khomeinism, then set the precedent that such aggression against the United States was better adjudicated as a matter of law than settled by war. Criminals were to be understood, not punished; and we, not our enemies, were at fault for our past behavior. Whether Carter?s impotence sprang from his deep-seated moral distrust of using American power unilaterally or from real remorse over past American actions in the cold war or even from his innate pessimism about the military capability of the United States mattered little to the hostage takers in Teheran, who for some 444 days humiliated the United States through a variety of public demands for changes in U.S. foreign policy, the return of the exiled Shah, and reparations.

But if we know how we failed to respond in the last three decades, do we yet grasp why we were so afraid to act decisively at these earlier junctures, which might have stopped the chain of events that would lead to the al-Qaida terrorist acts of September 11? Our failure was never due to a lack of the necessary wealth or military resources, but rather to a deeply ingrained assumption that we should not retaliate?a hesitancy al-Qaida perceives and plays upon.

Along that sad succession of provocations, we can look back and see particularly critical turning points that reflected this now-institutionalized state policy of worrying more about what the enemy was going to do to us than we to him, to paraphrase Grant?s dictum: not hammering back after the murder of the marines in Lebanon for fear of ending up like the Israelis in a Lebanese quagmire; not going to Baghdad in 1991 because of paranoia that the ?coalition? would collapse and we would polarize the Arabs; pulling abruptly out of Somalia once pictures of American bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu were broadcast around the world; or turning down offers in 1995 from Sudan to place Usama bin Ladin into our custody, for fear that U.S. diplomats or citizens might be murdered abroad.

Throughout this tragic quarter-century of appeasement, our response usually consisted of a stern lecture by a Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or Bill Clinton about ?never giving in to terrorist blackmail? and ?not negotiating with terrorists.? Even Ronald Reagan?s saber-rattling ?You can run but not hide? did not preclude trading arms to the Iranian terrorists or abruptly abandoning Lebanon after the horrific Hezbollah attack.

Sometimes a half-baked failed rescue mission, or a battleship salvo, cruise missile, or air strike followed?but always accompanied by a weeklong debate by conservatives over ?exit strategies? and ?mission creep,? while liberals fretted about ?consultations with our allies and the United Nations.? And remember: these pathetic military responses were the hawkish actions that earned us the resignation of a furious Cyrus Vance, the abrogation of overflight rights by concerned ?allies? such as France, and a national debate about what we did to cause such animosity in the first place.

Our enemies and Middle Eastern ?friends? alike sneered at our self-flagellation. In 1991, at great risk, the United States freed Kuwait from Iraq and ended its status as the 19th satrapy of Saddam Hussein?only to watch the restored kingdom ethnically cleanse over a third of a million Palestinians. But after the murder of 3,000 Americans in 2001, Kuwaitis, in a February 2002 Gallup poll (and while they lobbied OPEC to reduce output and jack up prices), revealed an overwhelming distaste for Americans?indeed the highest levels of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And these ethnic cleansers of Palestinians cited America?s purportedly unfair treatment of the Palestinians (recipients of accumulated billions in American aid) as a prime cause of their dislike of us.

In the face of such visceral anti-Americanism, the problem may not be real differences over the West Bank, much less that ?we are not getting the message out?; rather, in the decade since 1991 the Middle East saw us as a great power that neither could nor would use its strength to advance its ideas?that lacked even the intellectual confidence to argue for our civilization before the likes of a tenth-century monarchy. The autocratic Arab world neither respects nor fears a democratic United States, because it rightly senses that we often talk in principled terms but rarely are willing to invest the time, blood, and treasure to match such rhetoric with concrete action. That?s why it is crucial for us to stay in Iraq to finish the reconstruction and cement the achievement of our three-week victory over Saddam.

It is easy to cite post-Vietnam guilt and shame as the likely culprit for our paralysis. After all, Jimmy Carter came in when memories of capsizing boat people and of American helicopters lifting swarms of panicked diplomats off the roof of the Saigon embassy were fresh. In 1980, he exited in greater shame: his effusive protestations that Soviet communism wasn?t something to fear all that much won him the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, while his heralded ?human rights? campaign was answered by the Ortegas in Nicaragua and the creation of a murderous theocracy in Iran. Yet perhaps President Carter was not taking the American people anywhere they didn?t want to go. After over a decade of prior social unrest and national humiliation in Vietnam, many Americans believed that the United States either could not or should not do much about things beyond its shores.

As time wore on and the nightmare of Vietnam began to fade, fear of the Soviet Union kept us from crushing the terrorists who killed our diplomats and blew up our citizens. These were no idle fears, given the Russians? record of butchering 30 million of their own, stationing 300 divisions on Europe?s borders, and pointing 7,000 nukes at the United States. And fear of their malevolence made eminent sense in the volatile Middle East, where the Russians made direct threats to the Israelis in both the 1967 and 1973 wars, when the Syrian, Egyptian, and Iraqi militaries?trained, supplied, and advised by Russians?were on the verge of annihilation. Russian support for Nasser?s Pan-Arabism and for Baathism in Iraq and Syria rightly worried cold warriors, who sensed that the Soviets had their geopolitical eyes on Middle East oil and a stranglehold over Persian Gulf commerce.

Indeed, these twin pillars of the old American Middle East policy?worry over oil and fear of communists?reigned for nearly half a century, between 1945 and 1991. Such realism, however understandable, was counterproductive in the long run, since our tacit support for odious anti-communist governments in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and North Africa did not address the failure of such autocracies to provide prosperity and hope for exploding populations of increasingly poor and angry citizens. We kept Russians out of the oil fields and ensured safe exports of petroleum to Europe, Japan, and the United States?but at what proved to be the steep price of allowing awful regimes to deflect popular discontent against us.

Nor was realpolitik always effective. Such illegitimate Arab regimes as the Saudi royal family initiated several oil embargoes, after all. And meanwhile, such a policy did not deter the Soviets from busily selling high-tech weaponry to Libya, Syria, and Iraq, while the KGB helped to train and fund almost every Arab terrorist group. And indeed, immediately after the 1991 Iraqi takeover of Kuwait, U.S. intelligence officers discovered that Soviet-trained Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, and Abu Ibrahim had flocked to Baghdad on the invitation of the Baathist Saddam Hussein: though the Soviet Union did not interrupt Western petroleum commerce, its well-supplied surrogates did their fair share of murdering.

Neither thirst for petroleum nor fear of communists, then, adequately explains our inaction for most of the tumultuous late 1980s and 1990s, when groups like Hezbollah and al-Qaida came on to the world scene. Gorbachev?s tottering empire had little inclination to object too strenuously when the United States hit Libya in 1986, recall, and thanks to the growing diversity and fungibility of the global oil supply, we haven?t had a full-fledged Arab embargo since 1979.

Instead, the primary cause for our surprising indifference to the events leading up to September 11 lies within ourselves. Westerners always have had a propensity for complacency because of our wealth and freedom; and Americans in particular have enjoyed a comfortable isolation in being separated from the rest of the world by two oceans. Yet during the last four presidential administrations, laxity about danger on the horizon seems to have become more ingrained than in the days when a more robust United States sought to thwart communist intrusion into Arabia, Asia, and Africa.

Americans never viewed terrorist outlaw states with the suspicion they once had toward Soviet communism; they put little pressure on their leaders to crack down on Middle Eastern autocracy and theocracy as a threat to security. At first this indifference was understandable, given the stealthy nature of our enemies and the post?cold war relief that, having toppled the Soviet Union and freed millions in Eastern Europe, we might be at the end of history. Even the bloodcurdling anti-American shouts from the Beirut street did not seem as scary as a procession of intercontinental missiles and tanks on an average May Day parade in Moscow.

Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and the PLO were more like fleas on a sleeping dog: bothersome rather than lethal; to be flicked away occasionally rather than systematically eradicated. Few paid attention to Usama bin Ladin?s infamous February 1998 fatwa: ?The rule to kill Americans and their allies?civilians and military?is a sacred duty for any Muslim.? Those who noticed thought it just impotent craziness, akin to Sartre?s fatuous quip during the Vietnam War that he wished for a nuclear strike against the United States to end its imperial aspirations. No one thought that a raving maniac in an Afghan cave could kill more Americans in a single day than the planes of the Japanese imperial fleet off Pearl Harbor.

But still, how did things as odious to liberal sensibilities as Pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism, and Middle Eastern dictatorship?which squashed dissent, mocked religious tolerance, and treated women as chattel?become reinvented into ?alternate discourses? deserving a sympathetic pass from the righteous anger of the United States when Americans were murdered overseas? Was it that spokesmen for terrorist regimes mimicked the American Left?in everything from dress, vocabulary, and appearances on the lecture circuit?and so packaged their extremism in a manner palatable to Americans? Why, after all, were Americans patient with remonstrations from University of Virginia alumna Hanan Ashrawi, rather than asking precisely how such a wealthy Christian PLO apparatchik really felt about the Palestinian Authority?s endemic corruption, the spendthrift Parisian Mrs. Arafat, the terrorists around Arafat himself, the spate of ?honor killings? of women in the West Bank, the censorship of the Palestinian press, suicide murdering by Arafat affiliates, and the lynching of suspects by Palestinian police?

Rather than springing from realpolitik, sloth, or fear of oil cutoffs, much of our appeasement of Middle Eastern terrorists derived from a new sort of anti-Americanism that thrived in the growing therapeutic society of the 1980s and 1990s. Though the abrupt collapse of communism was a dilemma for the Left, it opened as many doors as it shut. To be sure, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, few Marxists could argue for a state-controlled economy or mouth the old romance about a workers? paradise?not with scenes of East German families crammed into smoking clunkers lumbering over potholed roads, like American pioneers of old on their way west. But if the creed of the socialist republics was impossible to take seriously in either economic or political terms, such a collapse of doctrinaire statism did not discredit the gospel of forced egalitarianism and resentment against prosperous capitalists. Far from it.

If Marx receded from economics departments, his spirit reemerged among our intelligentsia in the novel guises of post-structuralism, new historicism, multiculturalism, and all the other dogmas whose fundamental tenet was that white male capitalists had systematically oppressed women, minorities, and Third World people in countless insidious ways. The font of that collective oppression, both at home and abroad, was the rich, corporate, Republican, and white United States.

The fall of the Soviet Union enhanced these newer post-colonial and liberation fields of study by immunizing their promulgators from charges of fellow-traveling or being dupes of Russian expansionism. Communism?s demise likewise freed these trendy ideologies from having to offer some wooden, unworkable Marxist alternative to the West; thus they could happily remain entirely critical, sarcastic, and cynical without any obligation to suggest something better, as witness the nihilist signs at recent protest marches proclaiming: ?I Love Iraq, Bomb Texas.?

From writers like Arundhati Roy and Michel Foucault (who anointed Khomeini ?a kind of mystic saint? who would usher in a new ?political spirituality? that would ?transfigure? the world) and from old standbys like Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre (?to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time?), there filtered down a vague notion that the United States and the West in general were responsible for Third World misery in ways that transcended the dull old class struggle. Endemic racism and the legacy of colonialism, the oppressive multinational corporation and the humiliation and erosion of indigenous culture brought on by globalization and a smug, self-important cultural condescension?all this and more explained poverty and despair, whether in Damascus, Teheran, or Beirut.

There was victim status for everybody, from gender, race, and class at home to colonialism, imperialism, and hegemony abroad. Anyone could play in these ?area studies? that cobbled together the barrio, the West Bank, and the ?freedom fighter? into some sloppy global union of the oppressed?a far hipper enterprise than rehashing Das Kapital or listening to a six-hour harangue from Fidel.

Of course, pampered Western intellectuals since Diderot have always dreamed up a ?noble savage,? who lived in harmony with nature precisely because of his distance from the corruption of Western civilization. But now this fuzzy romanticism had an updated, political edge: the bearded killer and wild-eyed savage were not merely better than we because they lived apart in a pre-modern landscape. No: they had a right to strike back and kill modernizing Westerners who had intruded into and disrupted their better world?whether Jews on Temple Mount, women in Westernized dress in Teheran, Christian missionaries in Kabul, capitalist profiteers in Islamabad, whiskey-drinking oilmen in Riyadh, or miniskirted tourists in Cairo.

An Ayatollah Khomeini who turned back the clock on female emancipation in Iran, who murdered non-Muslims, and who refashioned Iranian state policy to hunt down, torture, and kill liberals nevertheless seemed to liberal Western eyes as preferable to the Shah?a Western-supported anti-communist, after all, who was engaged in the messy, often corrupt task of bringing Iran from the tenth to the twentieth century, down the arduous, dangerous path that, as in Taiwan or South Korea, might eventually lead to a consensual, capitalist society like our own.

Yet in the new world of utopian multiculturalism and knee-jerk anti-Americanism, in which a Noam Chomsky could proclaim Khomeini?s gulag to be ?independent nationalism,? reasoned argument was futile. Indeed, how could critical debate arise for those ?committed to social change,? when no universal standards were to be applied to those outside the West? Thanks to the doctrine of cultural relativism, ?oppressed? peoples either could not be judged by our biased and ?constructed? values (?false universals,? in Edward Said?s infamous term) or were seen as more pristine than ourselves, uncorrupted by the evils of Western capitalism.

Who were we to gainsay Khomeini?s butchery and oppression? We had no way of understanding the nuances of his new liberationist and ?nationalist? Islam. Now back in the hands of indigenous peoples, Iran might offer the world an alternate path, a different ?discourse? about how to organize a society that emphasized native values (of some sort) over mere profit.

So at precisely the time of these increasingly frequent terrorist attacks, the silly gospel of multiculturalism insisted that Westerners have neither earned the right to censure others, nor do they possess the intellectual tools to make judgments about the relative value of different cultures. And if the initial wave of multiculturalist relativism among the elites?coupled with the age-old romantic forbearance for Third World roguery?explained tolerance for early unpunished attacks on Americans, its spread to our popular culture only encouraged more.

This nonjudgmentalism?essentially a form of nihilism?deemed everything from Sudanese female circumcision to honor killings on the West Bank merely ?different? rather than odious. Anyone who has taught freshmen at a state university can sense the fuzzy thinking of our undergraduates: most come to us prepped in high schools not to make ?value judgments? about ?other? peoples who are often ?victims? of American ?oppression.? Thus, before female-hating psychopath Mohamed Atta piloted a jet into the World Trade Center, neither Western intellectuals nor their students would have taken him to task for what he said or condemned him as hypocritical for his parasitical existence on Western society. Instead, without logic but with plenty of romance, they would more likely have excused him as a victim of globalization or of the biases of American foreign policy. They would have deconstructed Atta?s promotion of anti-Semitic, misogynist, Western-hating thought, as well as his conspiracies with Third World criminals, as anything but a danger and a pathology to be remedied by deportation or incarceration.

It was not for nothing that on November 17, 1979?less than two weeks after the militants stormed the American embassy in Teheran?the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black hostages, singling them out as part of the brotherhood of those oppressed by the United States and cloaking his ongoing slaughter of Iranian opponents and attacks on United States sovereignty in a self-righteous anti-Americanism. Twenty-five years later, during the anti-war protests of last spring, a group called ?Act Now to Stop War and End Racism? sang the same foolish chorus in its call for demonstrations: ?Members of the Muslim Community, Antiwar Activists, Latin-American Solidarity Groups and People From All Over the United States Unite to Say: ?We Are All Palestinians!? ?

The new cult of romantic victimhood became gospel in most Middle East departments in American universities. Except for the courageous Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Fouad Ajami, few scholars offered any analysis that might confirm more astute Americans in their vague sense that in the Middle East, political autocracy, statism, tribalism, anti-intellectualism, and gender apartheid accounted for poverty and failure. And if few wished to take on Islamofascism in the 1990s?indeed, Steven Emerson?s chilling 1994 documentary Jihad in America set off a storm of protest from U.S. Muslim-rights groups and prompted death threats to the producer?almost no one but Samuel Huntington dared even to broach the taboo subject that there might be elements within doctrinaire Islam itself that could easily lead to intolerance and violence and were therefore at the root of any ?clash of civilizations.?

Instead, most experts explained why violent fanatics might have some half-legitimate grievance behind their deadly harvest each year of a few Americans in the wrong place at the wrong time. These experts cautioned that, instead of bombing and shooting killers abroad who otherwise would eventually reach us at home, Americans should take care not to disturb Iranian terrorists during Ramadan?rather than to remember that Muslims attacked Israel precisely during that holy period. Instead of condemning Wahhabis for the fascists that they were, we were instead apprised that such holy men of the desert and tent provided a rapidly changing and often Western-corrupted Saudi Arabia with a vital tether to the stability of its romantic nomadic past. Rather than recognizing that Yasser Arafat?s Tunisia-based Fatah organization was a crime syndicate, expert opinion persuaded us to empower it as an indigenous liberation movement on the West Bank?only to destroy nearly two decades? worth of steady Palestinian economic improvement.

Neither oil-concerned Republicans nor multicultural Democrats were ready to expose the corrupt American relationship with Saudi Arabia. No country is more culpable than that kingdom in funding extremist madrassas and subsidizing terror, or more antithetical to liberal American values from free speech to religious tolerance. But Saudi propagandists learned from the Palestinians the value of constructing their own victimhood as a long-oppressed colonial people. Call a Saudi fundamentalist mullah a fascist, and you can be sure you?ll be tarred as an Islamophobe.

Even when Middle Easterners regularly blew us up, the Clinton administration, unwilling to challenge the new myth of Muslim victimhood, transformed Middle Eastern terrorists bent on destroying America into wayward individual criminals who did not spring from a pathological culture. Thus, Clinton treated the first World Trade Center bombing as only a criminal justice matter?which of course allowed the United States to avoid confronting the issue and taking on the messy and increasingly unpopular business the Bush administration has been engaged in since September 11. Clinton dispatched FBI agents, not soldiers, to Yemen and Saudi Arabia after the attacks on the USS Cole and the Khobar Towers. Yasser Arafat, responsible in the 1970s for the murder of a U.S. diplomat in the Sudan, turned out to be the most frequent foreign visitor to the Clinton Oval Office.

If the Clintonian brand of appeasement reflected both a deep-seated tolerance for Middle Eastern extremism and a reluctance to wake comfortable Americans up to the danger of a looming war, he was not the only one naive about the threat of Islamic fascism. Especially culpable was the Democratic Party at large, whose post-Vietnam foreign policy could not sanction the use of American armed force to protect national interests but only to accomplish purely humanitarian ends as in the interventions in Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia.

Indeed, the recent Democratic primaries reveal just how far this disturbing trend has evolved: the foreign-policy positions of John Kerry and Howard Dean on Iraq and the Middle East were far closer to those of extremists like Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich than to current American policy under George W. Bush. Indeed, buffoons or conspiracy theorists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Al Franken often turned up on the same stage as would-be presidents. When Moore, while endorsing Wesley Clark, called an American president at a time of war a ?deserter,? when the mendacious Sharpton lectured his smiling fellow candidates on the Bush administration?s ?lies? about Iraq, and when Al Gore labeled the president?s action in Iraq a ?betrayal? of America, the surrender of the mainstream Democrats to the sirens of extremism was complete. Again, past decorum and moderation go out the window when the pretext is saving indigenous peoples from American oppression.

The consensus for appeasement that led to September 11, albeit suppressed for nearly two years by outrage over the murder of 3,000, has reemerged in criticism over the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq and George Bush?s prosecution of the War on Terror.

The tired voices that predicted a litany of horrors in October 2001?the impassable peaks of Afghanistan, millions of refugees, endemic starvation, revolution in the Arab street, and violations of Ramadan?now complain, incorrectly, that 150,000 looted art treasures were the cost of guarding the Iraqi oil ministry, that Halliburton pipelines and refineries were the sole reason to remove Saddam Hussein, and that Christian fundamentalists and fifth-columnist neoconservatives have fomented a senseless revenge plot against Muslims and Arabs. Whether they complained before March 2003 that America faced death and ruin against Saddam?s Republican Guard, or two months later that in bullying fashion we had walked over a suddenly impotent enemy, or three months later still that, through incompetence, we were taking casualties and failing to get the power back on, leftist critics? only constant was their predictable dislike of America.

Military historians might argue that, given the enormity of our task in Iraq?liberating 26 million from a tyrant and implanting democracy in the region?the tragic loss of more than 500 Americans in a year?s war and peace was a remarkable sign of our care and expertise in minimizing deaths. Diplomats might argue that our past efforts at humanitarian reconstruction, with some idealistic commitment to consensual government, have a far better track record in Germany, Japan, Korea, Panama, and Serbia than our strategy of exiting Germany after World War I, of leaving Iraq to Saddam after 1991, of abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban once the Russians were stopped, of skipping out from Haiti or of fleeing Somalia. Realist students of arms control might argue that the recent confessions of Pakistan?s nuclear roguery, the surrender of the Libyan arsenal, and the invitation of the UN inspectors into Iran were the dividends of resolute American action in Iraq. Colonel Khadafy surely came clean not because of Jimmy Carter?s peace missions, UN resolutions, or EU diplomats.

But don?t expect any sober discussion of these contentions from the Left. Their gloom and doom about Iraq arises precisely from the anti-Americanism and romanticization of the Third World that once led to our appeasement and now seeks its return. When John Kerry talks of mysterious prominent Europeans he has met (but whose names he will not divulge) who, he says, pray for his election in hopes of ending George Bush?s Iraqi nightmare, perhaps he has in mind people like the Chamberlainesque European Commission president Romano Prodi, who said in the wake of the recent mass murder in Spain: ?Clearly, the conflict with the terrorists is not resolved with force alone.? Perhaps he has in mind, also, the Spanish electorate, which believes it can find security from al-Qaida terrorism by refuting all its past support for America?s role in the Middle East. But of course if the terrorists understand that, in lieu of resolve, they will find such appeasement a mere 48 hours after a terrorist attack, then all previously resolute Western democracies?Italy, Poland, Britain, and the United States?should expect the terrorists to murder their citizens on the election eve in hopes of achieving just such a Spanish-style capitulation.

In contrast, George W. Bush, impervious to such self-deception, has, in a mere two and a half years, reversed the perilous course of a quarter-century. Since September 11, he has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government, isolated Yasser Arafat, pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas, removed American troops from Saudi Arabia, shut down fascistic Islamic ?charities,? scattered al-Qaida, turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral, rounded up terrorists in the United States, pressured Libya, Iran, and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating, so far avoided another September 11?and promises that he is not nearly done yet. If the Spanish example presages further terrorist attacks on European democracies at election time, at least Mr. Bush has made it clear that America?alone if need be?will neither appease nor ignore such killers but in fact finish the terrible war that they started.

As Jimmy Carter also proved in November 1979, one man really can make a difference.
30184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: April 15, 2004, 11:24:30 AM
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING UNITED, MR. BIN LADEN
Wed Apr 14, 8:02 PM ET  Add Op/Ed - Ann Coulter to My Yahoo!
 


By Ann Coulter

Last week, 9/11 commissioner John Lehman revealed that "it was the policy (before 9/11) and I believe remains the policy today to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory." Hmmm ... Is 19 more than two? Why, yes, I believe it is. So if two Jordanian cab drivers are searched before boarding a flight out of Newark, Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) could then board that plane without being questioned. I'm no security expert, but I'm pretty sure this gives terrorists an opening for an attack.

 

 

In a sane world, Lehman's statement would have made headlines across the country the next day. But not one newspaper, magazine or TV show has mentioned that it is official government policy to prohibit searching more than two Arabs per flight.


Meanwhile, another 9/11 commissioner, the greasy Richard Ben-Veniste, claimed to be outraged that the CIA (news - web sites) did not immediately give intelligence on 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar to the FBI (news - web sites). As we now know -- or rather, I alone know because I'm the only person in America watching the 9/11 hearings -- Ben-Veniste should have asked his fellow commissioner Jamie Gorelick about that.


In his testimony this week, John Ashcroft (news - web sites) explained that the FBI wasn't even told Almihdhar and Alhazmi were in the country until weeks before the 9/11 attack -- because of Justice Department (news - web sites) guidelines put into place in 1995. The FBI wasn't allowed to put al-Qaida specialists on the hunt for Almihdhar and Alhazmi -- because of Justice Department guidelines put into place in 1995. Indeed, the FBI couldn't get a warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui's computer -- because of Justice Department guidelines put into place in 1995.


The famed 1995 guidelines were set forth in a classified memorandum written by the then-deputy attorney general titled "Instructions for Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations," which imposed a "draconian" wall between counterintelligence and criminal investigations.


What Ashcroft said next was breathtaking. Prohibited from mounting a serious search for Almihdhar and Alhazmi, an irritated FBI investigator wrote to FBI headquarters, warning that someone would die because of these policies -- "since the biggest threat to us, OBL (Osama bin Laden), is getting the most protection."


FBI headquarters responded: "We're all frustrated with this issue. These are the rules. NSLU (National Security Law Unit) does not make them up. But somebody did make these rules. Somebody built this wall."


The person who built that wall described in the infamous 1995 memo, Ashcroft said, "is a member of the commission." If this were an episode of "Matlock," the camera would slowly pan away from Ashcroft's face at this point and then quickly jump to an extreme close-up of Jamie Gorelick's horrified expression. Armed marshals would then escort the kicking, screaming Gorelick away in leg irons as the closing credits rolled. Gorelick was the deputy attorney general in 1995.


The 9/11 commission has finally uncovered the proverbial "smoking gun"! But it was fired by one of the 9/11 commissioners. Maybe between happy reminiscences about the good old days of Ruby Ridge, Waco and the Elian Gonzales raid, Ben-Veniste could ask Gorelick about those guidelines. Democrats think it's a conflict of interest for Justice Scalia to have his name in the same phonebook as Dick Cheney (news - web sites). But there is no conflict of interest having Gorelick sit on a commission that should be investigating her.


Bill O'Reilly's entire summary of Ashcroft's testimony was to accuse Ashcroft of throwing sheets over naked statues rather than fighting terrorism. No mention of the damning Gorelick memo. No one knows about the FAA (news - web sites)'s No-Searching-Arabs counterterrorism policy. Predictions that conservatives have finally broken through the wall of sound coming from the mainstream media may have been premature.


When Democrats make an accusation against Republicans, newspaper headlines repeat the accusation as a fact: "U.S. Law Chief 'Failed to Heed Terror Warnings,'" "Bush Was Told of Qaida Steps Pre-9/11; Secret Memo Released," "Bush White House Said to Have Failed to Make al-Qaida an Early Priority."


But when Republicans make accusations against Democrats -- even accusations backed up by the hard fact of a declassified Jamie Gorelick memo -- the headlines note only that Republicans are making accusations: "Ashcroft Lays Blame at Clinton's Feet," "Ashcroft: Blame Bubba for 9/11," "Ashcroft Faults Clinton in 9/11 Failures."


It's amazing how consistent it is. A classic of the genre was the Chicago Tribune headline, which managed to use both constructs in a single headline: "Ashcroft Ignored Terrorism, Panel Told; Attorney General Denies Charges, Blames Clinton." Why not: "Reno Ignored Terrorism, Panel Told; Former Deputy Attorney General Denies Charges, Blames Bush"?


Democrats actively created policies that were designed to hamstring terrorism investigations. The only rap against the Bush administration is that it failed to unravel the entire 9/11 terrorism plot based on a memo titled: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."


I have news for liberals: Bin Laden is still determined to attack inside the United States! Could they please tell us when and where the next attack will be? Because unless we know that, it's going to be difficult to stop it if we can't search Arabs.
30185  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 15, 2004, 10:04:24 AM
There are a few rejoinders I still would like to make viz the responses to my prior post, but have not had time.  So until then this, from Ray Terry's Eskrima Digest:
==============

OK, as promised....

Ang Kali na Dinatnan ng mga Kastila ay Hindi pa Arnis
ang Tawag nuong 1610

(The Kali that the Spaniards encountered was not yet
called Arnis in 1610)

Noong unang panahon ang larong ito'y kilala saa tawag
na "kali" ng ating mga ninuno, nguni't sa hindi
maiwasang pagbabago ng panahon at pangyayari ay
pinamagatan nila ng "Panandata" sa Tagalog,
"Pagkalikali" sa kapatagan ng Kagayan ng mga Ibanag,
"Kalirongan" sa Pangasinan, "Kaliradman" sa Bisaya at
"Pagaradman" sa Ilongo nuong 1860, at "Didya" sa
Ilokos at muling naging "Kabaroan," ayon kay Rev. Fr.
Gregorio Aglipay na bantog din sa arnis nuong 1872.

Below is the best translation I can make. Maybe my
kababayan here can help me correct it? Gat Puno? Leo?
Jay? Jose? Manong Jorge? Ed? Anyone?.....

In early times, this game/sport/contest (?) was known
by the term "kali" by our ancestors, but because of
the inevitable changes over time and events, this
became known as "Panandata" in the Tagalog regions,
"Pagkalikali" in the plains of Cagayan especially
among the Ibanags, "Kalirongan" in Pangasinan,
"Kaliradman" in Bisaya and "Pagaradman" in Ilonggo in
1860, and "Didya" in Ilokos, which again became
"Kabaroan" according to Rev. Fr. Gregorio Aglipay who
was also expert in arnis, in 1872.

Mirafuente in Yambao 1957 (10)

Mirafuente does not give any bibliographic references
at the end of his chapter. However, he does give the
definitions of the terms at the end, written in a
dictionary format, which may mean that he had access
to a dictionary or laid out the format that way. There
is a literary reference here, a quote from "Florante
at Laura" (Florante and Laura) an long poem written in
the epic form (published as a book)from the 19th
century by Francisco Balagtas. The quote includes two
terms, buno (wrestling) and arnis. Other than that,
and apart from a reference to the decree by Don Simon
de Anda y Salazar prohibiting the carrying of weapons,
no other references are given. Which is a pity, since
I would also loved to have looked them up myself.

The way this section in this chapter is written, there
appears to be no other significance to the term kali
than its being the term used to refer to the martial
arts of the time.

Regards,

Bot
30186  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 13, 2004, 01:27:49 PM
Guro Inosanto has often spoken of Manong LaCoste being unusually well-travelled (including being a ferry captain IIRC) and diverse in his training.  Guro I. has specifically mentioned that he trained with muslims in the south and that this was very unusual.
30187  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: April 13, 2004, 08:03:52 AM
Marshal leaves gun in airport bathroom
 
In Cleveland, passenger discovers what a forgetful air marshal left behind.
April 13, 2004: 8:36 AM EDT
 


CHICAGO (Reuters) - A federal air marshal accidentally left her gun in a restroom beyond the security checkpoints at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, officials say.

 
The weapon was discovered by a passenger who alerted an airline employee.

The marshal remained on the job after Thursday's incident when she visited an airport restroom and inadvertently left her gun behind, Dave Adams, spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service in Washington, said Saturday.

The restroom was beyond security checkpoints, airport spokeswoman Pat Smith said. So the risk was that someone could have discovered the gun and taken it on a flight.

"Right now we're still doing the investigation," Adams said. "It will determine what disciplinary action will be appropriate."

He declined to identify the marshal for security reasons, but said her work in the past had been "outstanding."

The United States deploys armed air marshals disguised as passengers on thousands of flights each week as part of security measures implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks that killed about 3,000 people.
 
Smith said the incident occurred about 4 p.m. on Thursday when the air marshal went to the restroom. While washing her hands, she placed her gun on a shelf, but forgot to take it with her when she left the room.

Soon afterward, a passenger found the gun and informed an airline employee, who removed it and told police. The gun later was returned to the marshal.
30188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 13, 2004, 07:23:50 AM
......................................................................

Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A tenuous cease-fire between U.S. forces and Sunni militants in Al Fallujah more or less held April 12, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army pulled out of police stations in An Najaf, Karbala and Kufa. The slight reduction in clashes resulted from a series of bilateral negotiations -- arranged by members of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and other civic and religious organizations -- between the coalition forces and various Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq.

For the United States, the respite is welcome after a week of intense
clashes across the country that appeared to be headed toward plunging the U.S. Iraq strategy into an abyss. But short-term solutions to the recently intensified fighting could have longer-term repercussions for U.S.
strategy -- an uncertainty Washington appears more willing to live with than the near certainty of chaos that was evolving last week.

For Washington, sending a clear, strong message to the militants in Al
Fallujah took a back seat to dealing with the rising of Shiite forces under
the leadership of al-Sadr. U.S. Marines last week surrounded Al Fallujah and were prepared to hunt down and kill those responsible for the late March deaths and mutilations of four U.S. civilian contractors. The message was to be clear and unmistakable: Such actions were unacceptable and anyone participating in them -- or sheltering those who participated -- would be punished to the maximum.

Just before U.S. forces moved into the city, clashes erupted elsewhere in
Iraq between al-Sadr's Mehdi Army and coalition forces. While the Al
Fallujah operation began, it was with a wary eye toward the larger threat of an apparent uprising among the Shia. In both cases, the U.S. military -- restricted by existing troop deployments and rules of engagement calling for minimal civilian casualties -- decided to call cease-fires and negotiate.

As Stratfor mentioned previously, the negotiations with the Sunnis -- via a
member of the IGC -- were a new step for the coalition, which had treated the Sunni militants as loosely organized bands of thugs with some foreign jihadists thrown in, not as a cohesive political-military entity with which it could negotiate. Even with the start of negotiations, it is not clear
that there is a cohesive unit representing the Sunni militants, much less
all of Iraq's minority Sunni population.

The point of negotiations is not so much to end all fighting with Sunni
militants -- no one expects that to happen anytime soon -- as to bring a
pause in the current fighting and to give the coalition forces a chance to
reassess the situation, particularly regarding al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani. U.S. forces could not afford to face down the militants in
Al Fallujah and all of Iraq's Shia if they had risen up over the weekend.
The trickle of signs that Shiite and Sunni forces were joining -- at least
on a neighborhood level in some areas of the country -- presented a serious potential challenge to U.S. operations.

Although the short-term need to stem the fighting required negotiations with the Sunnis in Al Fallujah, the message it sends could be counterproductive in the long run. When the Marines began the operation in Al Fallujah, they used a strong show of force, calling in AC-130 gunships, helicopters and an air strike that employed 500-pound bombs. There was a systematic movement of Marines into areas of the city, sweeping buildings and hunting down anyone believed to be linked to militants.

Going partway in and then offering a pause -- for humanitarian or other
reasons -- is likely to be interpreted by foreign jihadists and local Sunni
militants as a sign of weakness on the part of the United States. The
negotiations under way now do not appear to have any element of requiring the people or leaders of Al Fallujah to give up those responsible for the March attack on the U.S. contractors -- one of the stated reasons for the current operation -- nor do they seem to require the surrender of all foreign jihadists.

The message is clear in the city: The United States might threaten and come in hard, but its aversion to civilian casualties -- and to taking casualties of its own -- will leave it weak in the end. As Sun Tzu said in "The Art of War," "One who is at first excessively brutal and then fears the masses is the pinnacle of stupidity." While Sun Tzu was talking about the command of troops, and the U.S. was not "excessively brutal" in its assault on Al Fallujah, the sense is clear. If you are going to make a show of strength, don't follow it with the appearance that you fear the consequences.

While the militants in Al Fallujah could calm down with the involvement of
IGC negotiators, ultimately, the underlying issue has not been resolved.
There is still a city that serves as a haven for anti-coalition forces, and
punishment has not been meted out -- leaving the militants convinced that
the harder they hit the U.S. forces, the more averse the United States will
be to engaging in urban warfare. This could come back to haunt coalition
efforts in the future.

When al-Sadr's forces rose up over the last week, it was clear that he was
counting on U.S. fear to press his case. In October 2003, when his followers clashed with coalition troops, it took only the threat of his arrest to calm him down. This time around, the threat of arrest was taken as a challenge and a rallying cry. There was little belief by al-Sadr and his top team that the U.S. forces would go through with it this time because they did not follow through last time.

Beyond the battlefield, the joint bilateral negotiations have one more
significant impact on U.S. plans for Iraq. The deals being offered to the
Sunni and Shiite factions are being made with a short-term goal in mind: to stem the current flare-up of violence. But when it comes to negotiating the makeup of the transitional government, Washington is unlikely to be able to keep whatever promises it has made to both the Shia and the Sunnis -- rivals for political control of Iraq. That will leave Washington once again in a position where it is unwilling and unable to satisfy all sides -- and a repeat of last week's violence could be in the offing.
30189  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 13, 2004, 04:28:09 AM
If I have it correctly, Maong Juan LaCoste used "Kali".


BTW, concerning Yambao http://www.bakbakan.com/ca-book.htm
30190  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 12, 2004, 10:12:26 PM
I think the relevance of GM Cabales here is not the name of his system but rather that he is considered to be the first to "go public" with the Art in the US (sometime in the 1960s--please correct me if I am wrong) and as such the date of his going public disputes, IMHO, the assertion that the mention of Kali in Yojimbo's book in 1951 in the Philippines was part of some "conspiracy" to market and condescend to caucasion Americans since we were not to know of the Art for some 15-20 years yet.
30191  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 12, 2004, 03:19:55 PM
Woof All:

Tuhon Rafael wrote:

"Crafty makes a good point... there's a nearly a decade long gap of written records concerning the next appearance of FMAs in the States. If there were American (caucasian) private students in 1951, they would be known or be discovered- at least an interest of how they developed would be found.

With written proof of the origin of the quote, it would at least shed some light on the matter. Is this gentleman still alive?"

END

If we figure that for the info to have made it to the Philippines and be published there in 1951, it seems probable to me that the date of  (rumored) publication of the US newsletter was probably in the 1940s.   What year do we use as the benchmark for the FMA going public in the US (would this be GM Angel Cabales?)  Thus we are looking at a probable 15-20 years as best as I can figure-- but please feel free to educate me better.

Also, I confess to being confused by the use of the word "quote" here.  To what does it refer?

yip,
Crafty
30192  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Help Save CA MT Kickboxing on: April 12, 2004, 01:44:01 PM
Are you a FAN, Trainer, Camp/ School Owner involved in Muay Thai Kickboxing??!!

 

Please COPY or REVISE this letter and send it to the CA State Athletic Commission.

 

We have Muay Thai Kickboxing GROWING in CA but if we DO NOTHING

the Sport will DIE - Please take 15 minutes to get involved and support the TEAM/

Family of Muay Thai. Smiley

 

Send a small letter life this one below:

*************************************************************************

 

Date:    April 8, 2004   Re: Meeting April 26, 2004/ Muay Thai Kickboxing Sport- (MTK)

 

 

To:       Dean Lohuis - State Athletic Commission            Rob Lynch - State Athletic Commission
            Department of Consumer Affairs                         Department of Consumer Affairs
            5757 W. Century Blvd., GF-16                          1424 Howe Avenue, Suite 33
            Los Angeles, CA 90045                                     Sacramento, CA 95825

 

 

From:   Daniel & Zina Docto ? www.thaibox.net

            38660 Lexington Street #459, Fremont CA 94536

 

 

Dear Mr. Dean Lohuis and Mr. Rob Lynch,

We have been involved with Muay Thai Kickboxing for over (10) years, it is a real positive sport in California. It is growing because many trainers, fighters and promoters from Thailand have taken the time to educate many Californians in the details of their Ancient National Sport of Muay Thai Kickboxing (MTK). We are writing to encourage you both in the following issues:

 

MTK should be supported because it promotes health, fitness activities, lowers gang & drug activities, it is a constructive outlet for aggression and it promotes a clean lifestyle all of which lowers the financial demands on this great State.
If higher quality of blood tests or physicals are required then the State should accept participant?s personal Doctor?s and not put this financial burden on the promoters. The promoters do not receive a justified payment for their time, effort, stress and planning to run a MTK event.
Levels of participation should be clearly established- Tournament, Amateur & Professional. Tournament events (Smokers) should have the fighters fully geared with headgear, body protectors, 16 oz. gloves and shin/ instep guards. Amateur events are for participants who have had at least (3) Tournament fights with no headgear or body protectors or shin guards with 10 to 14 oz. gloves as agreed upon by the trainers and promoters. Professional events are for participants with at least (6) Amateur fights with 8 to 10 oz. gloves. One issue that has come up is a mandatory of headgear for the Amateur events. At this level headgear does not add any safety and the fans see it as an unnecessary part of the MTK. Headgear actually blocks the site of the fighters so they cannot see kicks to the head, it hinders the ability of clinching/ knee techniques which stops the most damaging punches to the head. MTK is actually safer than Boxing because of the clinching techniques that stop the big powerful head punches. Headgear in Boxing does make the Sport safer but in MTK it does not. MTK events have 50% less punches to the head vs. Boxing.
If more costs (i.e. Insurance, Doctor & Emergency Medical/ Ambulance.) are placed on Promoters the MTK Sport will die. Promoters have already given up because most do not break even let alone make a profit on MTK events. Good communication and team work has to be the key in keeping the MTK Sport alive in CA. On an Amateur level we should look at Kru Vut?s Events as a historical reference. Vut Promotions has done the most consistent Muay Thai Kickboxing events in CA, the fans are just now making this event a regular part of their activities. The participants/ fighters & trainers are fully confident in the safety and excitement of these events. (www.thaibox.net/id125.htm) Good communication and honest research will clearly show that Vut Promotions has the wisdom to make MTK a fun, safe, positive and exciting activity for the growing participants and fans in California. Please work with proven & established Promoters in order to keep this Sport in CA.
 

Thank you for taking time to read our concerns and desires, God Bless.

Daniel and Zina Docto ? www.thaibox.net
30193  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 11, 2004, 07:07:11 PM
Woof S:

I'm not sure my point is communicating well, so before your continuation please allow me to flesh it out a bit.

If FMA were not being taught publicly in the US until the late 1960s, what sense does it make to say that a newsletter published in the late 40s-early 50s that Filipino agricultural workers was making up a term to market to American tastes that were not to come into existence for 20 years or more?  (Still awaiting the citation on this claim of this being the source for the Filipino book passage in question BTW)

Allow me to offer an alternative interpretation for your consideration:
Amongst the tremendous cross-sections of the Philippines to be found in Stockton were men (some born in the 18th century) who did use the term Kali-- a term of their youth which may have died out subsequent to their emmigration which they brought with them.  

for your consideration,
C.
30194  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 11, 2004, 03:40:59 PM
So far pre-1951 that it had somehow already magically made its way back to the Philippines to appear in this book as history in 1951?  The art was not even being taught in public!  (IIRC correctly GM Angel Cabales was the first to open a school circa 1964)

C'mon now, does this ring plausible to you?  Lets apply a bit of skepticism  wink
30195  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 11, 2004, 02:18:42 PM
Yo woof:

Given the empahsis on precise history by the anti-Kali crowd, a citiation would be appropriate.

Even if your memory AND source on this are accurate,  there were (and are) an awful lot of Filipinos in the US, especially CA where to this day they are the second largest minority (Mexican is first, black is third).  Is there a (conspiracy?) theory as to why pre-1951 Filipinos in the US would be making this up?  

yip,
Crafty
30196  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: April 10, 2004, 07:58:30 AM
Woof All:

IIRC the Yamboa book was first published in 1951.  A bone from the Eskrima Digest to gnaw on for those so inclined:

woof,
Crafty Dog
===========

The actual title of the book in question is Mga
Karunungan sa Larong Arnis ni Placido Yambao at
isinaayos ni Buenaventura Mirafuente (The Knowledge of
the Game(?)/Sport(?) of Arnis by Placido Yambao and
edited by Buenaventura Mirafuente).

You might find it interesting to note that the section
on the history of arnis in Yambao's book was actually
written by Buenaventura Mirafuente, his editor
(Maikling kasaysayan ng arnis ni Buenaventura
Mirafuente/Short history of arnis by Buenaventura
Mirafuente, pp 9-14). Mirafuente (p. 10) states that
kali was the original name of arnis at the time the
Spaniards came, but due to the inevitable changes
brought about by time and events, it became known by
various names in different areas of the Philippines,
such as pananandata in Tagalog, pagkalikali in the
Cagayan valley especially in the Ibanag-speaking
areas, kalirongan in Pangasinan, kaliradman in Bisaya
and pangaradman in Ilonggo, and didya in Ilokano,
which became also known as kabaroan according to Fr.
Gregorio Aglipay.

Mirafuente adds further (p. 14)in his endnotes to this
chapter, a short discussion on the similarity of the
terms kali and kalis, the latter described as the
sword used in kali.

Mind you, the above is just a short and rough
translation/paraphrase of the original Tagalog text...
Anyway, it appears that kali used in this sense simply
refers to the martial art encountered by the Spaniards
at the time of their arrival.

Respectfully,

Bot

P.S. I put game/sport as alternative translations of
the word "laro." "Laro" literally means to play, but
can also mean a game or a sport. In some contexts, it
also means contests or combat.
30197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: April 10, 2004, 12:58:01 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
  March 31, 2004
Response to Readership

I recently heard someone make a prediction that within the next fifty years there will likely be a civil war in Europe between "old" Europe and Muslims. That currently there is (at least) an ideological war being waged between European Socialism/Secularism vs. American Capitalism/Judeo-Christian-ism, with Muslims fighting both European and American concepts. Do you agree with this assessment? If so, could you speculate as to how you feel it will likely play itself out?

Hanson: I agree with your diagnosis, but believe that Europe already is aware that the old rules must change if it is to survive?witness immigration reform in Holland and Scandinavia. It is one thing to triangulate between the United States and the Arab world for short-term advantage; quite another to find oneself alienated from the heretofore supportive Americans without finding commesnurate  gratitude from the Middle East. Sensible people in Europe grasp this and are in a race with demagogues to change before it?s too late.
More "Response to Readership March 31"
 
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
  March 27: Book Signing - San Jose Barnes & Noble - 4pm  Mexifornia
April 2: Public Lecture - UC Berkeley  - Military Power & Empire - 12 noon  
April 17: Book Signing - Fresno, CA Fig Garden Bookstore - 1 - 3pm - Between War & Peace
 
Click to view calendar
 
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 March 26, 2004, 8:36 a.m.
We Are Finishing the War
Anatomy of our struggle against the Islamicists.

Across the globe we watch the terrible drama play out. Car and suicide bombings in Baghdad are aimed at American aid givers, U.S. peacekeepers, Iraqi civilians, and provisional government workers. Spanish civilians are indiscriminately murdered ? as are Turks, Moroccans, Saudis, and Afghans.

President Musharraf is targeted by assassins. Synagogues are blown apart. Suicide murderers try to reach a chemical dump in Ashdod in hopes of gassing Jews to the pleasure of much of the Arab world and the indifference of Europe. Indeed, Palestinian murderers apologize for gunning down an Arab jogger in Jerusalem . . .

Read more "We are finishing the war"
Read more from the NRO
 
 
 April 4, 2004

The Mirror of Fallujah

No more passes and excuses for the Middle East

Victor Davis Hanson

What are we to make of scenes from the eighth-century in Fallujah? Random murder, mutilation of the dead, dismemberment, televised gore, and pride in stringing up the charred corpses of those who sought to bring food to the hungry? Perhaps we can shrug and say all this is the wage of Saddam Hussein and the thirty years of brutality of his Baathists that institutionalized such barbarity? Or was the carnage the dying scream of Baathist hold-outs intent on shocking the Western world at home watching it live? We could speculate for hours.

 
Yet I fear that we have not seen anything new. Flip through the newspaper and the stories are as depressing as they are monotonous: bombs in Spain; fiery clerics promising death in England, even as explosive devices are uncovered in France. In-between accounts of bombings in Iraq, we get the normal murdering in Israel, and daily assassination in Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, and Chechnya. Murder, dismemberment, torture?these all seem to be the acceptable tools of Islamic fundamentalism and condoned as part of justifiable Middle East rage. Sheik Yassin is called a poor crippled ?holy man? who ordered the deaths of hundreds, as revered in the Arab World for his mass murder as Jerry Falwell is condemned in the West for his occasional slipshod slur about Muslims.
Yet the hourly killing is perhaps not merely the wages of autocracy, but part of a larger grotesquery of Islamic fundamentalism on display. The Taliban strung up infidels from construction cranes and watched, like Romans of old, gory stoning and decapitations in soccer stadiums built with UN largess. In the last two years, Palestinian mobs have torn apart Israeli soldiers, lynched their own, wired children with suicide bombing vests, and machine-gunned down women and children?between sickening scenes of smearing themselves with the blood of ?martyrs.? Very few Arab intellectuals or holy men have condemned such viciousness.

Daniel Pearl had his head cut off on tape; an American diplomat was riddled with bullets in Jordan. Or should we turn to Lebanon and gaze at the work of Hezbollah?its posters of decapitated Israeli soldiers proudly on display? Some will interject that the Saudis are not to be forgotten?whose religious police recently allowed trapped school girls to be incinerated rather than have them leave the flaming building unescorted, engage in public amputations, and behead adulteresses. But Mr. Assad erased from memory the entire town of Hama. And why pick on Saddam Hussein, when earlier Mr. Nasser, heartthrob to the Arab masses, gassed Yemenis? The Middle-East coffee houses cry about the creation of Israel and the refugees on the West Bank only to snicker that almost 1,000,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world.

And then there is the rhetoric. Where else in the world do mainstream newspapers talk of Jews as the children of pigs and apes? And how many wacky Christian or Hindu fundamentalists advocate about the mass murder of Jews or promise death to the infidel? Does a Western leader begin his peroration with ?O evil infidel? or does Mr. Sharon talk of ?virgins? and ?blood-stained martyrs??
Conspiracy theory in the West is the domain of Montana survivalists and Chomsky-like wackos; in the Arab world it is the staple of the state-run media. This tired strophe and antistrophe of threats and retractions, and braggadocio and obsequiousness grates on the world at large. So Hamas threatens to bring the war to the United States, and then back peddles and says not really. So the Palestinians warn American diplomats that they are not welcome on the soil of the West Bank?as if any wish to return when last there they were murdered trying to extend scholarships to Palestinian students.

I am sorry, but these toxic fumes of the Dark-Ages permeate everywhere. It won?t do any more simply to repeat quite logical exegeses. Without consensual government, the poor Arab Middle East is caught in the throes of rampant unemployment, illiteracy, statism, and corruption. Thus in frustration it vents through its state-run media invective against Jews and Americans to assuage the shame and pain. Whatever.

But at some point the world is asking: ?Is Mr. Assad or Hussein, the Saudi Royal Family, or a Khadafy really an aberration?all rogues who hijacked Arab countries?or are they the logical expression of a tribal patriarchal society whose frequent tolerance of barbarism is in fact reflected in its leadership? Are the citizens of Fallujah the victims of Saddam, or did folk like this find their natural identity expressed in Saddam? Postcolonial theory and victimology argue that European colonialism, Zionism, and petrodollars wrecked the Middle East. But to believe that one must see India in shambles, Latin America under blanket autocracy, and an array of suicide bombers pouring out of Mexico or Nigeria. South Korea was a moonscape of war when oil began gushing out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia; why is it now exporting cars while the latter are exporting death? Apartheid was far worse than the Shah?s modernization program; yet why did South Africa renounce nuclear weapons while the Mullahs cheated on every UN protocol they could?

No, there is something peculiar to the Middle East that worries the world. The Arab world for years has promulgated a quite successful media image as perennial victims?proud folks, suffering under a series of foreign burdens, while nobly maintaining their grace and hospitality. Middle-Eastern Studies programs in the United States and Europe published an array of mostly dishonest accounts of Western culpability, sometimes Marxist, sometimes anti-Semitic that were found to be useful intellectual architecture for the edifice of panArabism, as if Palestinians or Iraqis shared the same oppressions, the same hopes, and the same ideals as downtrodden American people of color?part of a universal ?other? deserving victim status and its attendant blanket moral exculpation. But the curtain has been lifted since 9-11 and the picture we see hourly now is not pretty.

Imagine an Olympics in Cairo? Or an international beauty pageant in Riyadh? Perhaps an interfaith world religious congress would like to meet in Teheran? Surely we could have the World Cup in Beirut? Is there a chance to have a World Bank conference in Ramallah or Tripoli? Maybe Damascus could host a conference of the world?s neurosurgeons?

And then there is the asymmetry of it all. Walk in hushed tones by a mosque in Iraq, yet storm and desecrate the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank with impunity. Blow up and assassinate Westerners with unconcern; yet scream that Muslims are being questioned about immigration status in New York. Damn the West as you try to immigrate there; try to give the Middle East a fair shake while you prefer never to visit such a place. Threaten with death and fatwa any speaker or writer who ?impugns? Islam, demand from Western intellectuals condemnation of any Christians who speak blasphemously of the Koran.

I have purchased Israeli agricultural implements, computer parts, and read books translated from the Hebrew; so far, nothing in the contemporary Arab world has been of much value in offering help to the people of the world in science, agriculture, or medicine. When there is news of 200 murdered in Madrid or Islamic mass-murdering of Christians in the Sudan, or suicide bombing in Israel, we no longer look for moderate mullahs and clerics to come forward in London or New York to condemn it. They rarely do. And if we might hear a word of reproof, it is always qualified by the ubiquitous ?but??followed by a litany of qualifiers about Western colonialism, Zionism, racism, and hegemony that have the effects of making the condemnation either meaningless or in fact a sort of approval.

Yet it is not just the violence, the boring threats, the constant televised hatred, the temper-tantrums of fake intellectuals on televisions, the hypocrisy of anti-Western Arabs haranguing America and Europe from London or Boston, or even the pathetic shouting and fist-shaking of the ubiquitous Arab street. Rather the global village is beginning to see that the violence of the Middle East is not aberrant, but logical. Its misery is not a result of exploitation or colonialism, but self-induced. Its fundamentalism is not akin to that of reactionary Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, but of an altogether different and much fouler brand.

The enemy of the Middle East is not the West so much as modernism itself and the humiliation that accrues when millions themselves are nursed by fantasies, hypocrisies, and conspiracies to explain their own failures. Quite simply, any society in which citizens owe their allegiance to the tribe rather than the nation, do not believe in democracy enough to institute it, shun female intellectual contributions, allow polygamy, insist on patriarchy, institutionalize religious persecution, ignore family planning, expect endemic corruption, tolerate honor killings, see no need to vote, and define knowledge as mastery of the Koran is deeply pathological.

When one adds to this depressing calculus that for all the protestations of Arab nationalism, Islamic purity and superiority, and whining about a decadent West, the entire region is infected with a burning desire for things Western?from cell phones and computers to videos and dialysis, you have all the ingredients for utter disaster and chaos. How after all in polite conversation can you explain to an Arab intellectual that the GDP of Jordan or Morocco has something to do with an array of men in the early afternoon stuffed into coffee shops spinning conspiracy tales, drinking coffee, and playing board games while Japanese, Germans, Chinese, and American women and men are into their sixth hour on the job? Or how do you explain that while Taiwanese are studying logarithms, Pakistanis are chanting from the Koran in Dark-Age madrassas? And how do you politely point out that while the New York Times and Guardian chastise their own elected officials, the Arab news in Damascus or Cairo is free only to do the same to us?

I support the bold efforts of the United States to make a start in cleaning up this mess, in hopes that a Fallujah might one day exorcize its demons. But in the meantime, we should have no illusions about the enormity of our task, where every positive effort will be met with violence, fury, hypocrisy, and ingratitude.

If we are to try to bring some good to the Middle East, then we must first have the intellectual courage to confess that for the most part the pathologies embedded there are not merely the work of corrupt leaders but often the very people who put them in place and allowed them to continue their ruin.

So the question remains did Saddam create Fallujah or Fallujah Saddam?
30198  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Banning Swords in Australia on: April 09, 2004, 07:22:00 AM
You have any sources on this for us?
30199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 09, 2004, 02:00:40 AM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
08 April 2004

Gaming Out Iraq

Summary

The United States is involved in its greatest military crisis
since the fall of Baghdad a year ago. This is the convergence of
two separate processes. The first is the apparent re-emergence of
the Sunni guerrillas west of Baghdad; the second is a split in
the Shiite community and an internal struggle that has targeted
the United States. In the worst-case scenario, these events could
have a disastrous outcome for the United States, but there are
reasons to think that the worst case is not the most likely at
this point.

Analysis

The United States is experiencing its greatest military crisis in
Iraq since the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003. On the one hand,
the Sunni guerrillas that the United States appeared to have
defeated after the Ramadan offensive of October and November 2003
have not been destroyed. Although their role in triggering the
March 31 attack against U.S. civilian contractors in Al Fallujah
is an open question, they have benefited politically from the
U.S. cordon around the city and have taken shots at distracted
U.S. forces in the area, such as the U.S. Marines in Ar Ramadi.
On the other hand, a Shiite militia led by young cleric Moqtada
al-Sadr has launched an offensive in Baghdad and in a number of
cities in Iraq's south. U.S. intelligence expected none of this;
L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, had scheduled a
trip to Washington that he had to cancel hurriedly.

The offensives appear to challenge two fundamental strategic
assumptions that were made by U.S. planners. The first was that,
due to penetrations by U.S. intelligence, the Sunni insurgency
was deteriorating and would not restart. The second, much more
important assumption was that the United States had a strategic
understanding with the Shiite leadership that it would contain
anti-American military action south of Baghdad, and that -- and
this is critical -- they would under no circumstances collaborate
with the Sunnis.

It now appears that these basic premises are being rendered
false.

Obviously, the Sunni guerrillas are still around, at least in the
Al Fallujah-Ar Ramadi corridor. U.S. efforts in that area of the
Sunni Triangle are aimed at finding those responsible for the
deaths and subsequent public mutilation of four U.S. civilian
contractors March 31. Current U.S. operations might be in
offensive mode -- suggesting that the Baathist guerrillas have
yet to fully regroup -- but as the siege of Al Fallujah drags on,
the potential grows for the insurgency to acquire sympathetic
recruits. Equally obviously, some of the Shia have taken up arms
against the United States, spreading the war to the region south
of Iraq. Finally, there are some reports of Sunni-Shiite
collaboration in the Baghdad area.

We might add that the outbreak west of Baghdad and the uprising
in the south could have been coincidental, but if so, it was one
amazing coincidence. Not liking coincidences ourselves -- and
fully understanding the contingent events that led to al-Sadr's
decision to strike -- we have to wonder about the degree to which
the events of the past week or so were planned.

If current trends accelerate, the United States faces a serious
military challenge that could lead to disaster. The United States
does not have the forces necessary to put down a broad-based
Shiite rising and crush the Sunni rebellion as well. Even the
current geography of the rising is beyond the capabilities of
existing deployments or any practicable number of additional
forces that might be made available. The United States is already
withdrawing from some cities. The logical outcome of all of this
would be an enclave strategy, in which the United States
concentrates its forces -- in a series of fortified locations --
perhaps excluding Iraqi nationals -- and leaves the rest of the
country to the guerrillas. That, of course, would raise the
question of why the United States should bother to remain in
Iraq, since those forces would not be able to exert effective
force either inside the country or beyond its borders.

That would force a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The consequences of
such a withdrawal would be catastrophic for the U.S. grand
strategy in the war against militant Islamists. One of the
purposes of the war was to disprove al Qaeda's assertion that the
United States was actually militarily weak and that it could not
engage in close combat in the Islamist world, certainly not in
the face of a mass uprising. An American withdrawal would prove
al Qaeda's claims and would energize Islamists not only with
hatred of the United States, but also -- and worse -- with
contempt for American power. It would create the worst of all
possible worlds for the United States.

It follows that the United States is going to do everything it
can to abort this process.

It also might well be that the process -- as we have laid it out
-- is faulty. The uprising in the Al Fallujah-Ar Ramadi corridor
might have peaked already. The al-Sadr rising perhaps does not
represent a reversal of Shiite strategic orientation, but is
primarily a self-contained, internal event about al-Sadr's
relationship with other Shiite clergy. The reports of
collaboration between Shia and Sunnis could be false or represent
a small set of cases.

These are the issues on which the conflict and the future of the
U.S. presence in Iraq turn. It is the hope of the guerrillas --
Sunni and Shiite -- to create a situation that compels a U.S.
withdrawal, either from the country or into fortified enclaves;
it is obviously the intention of the United States to prevent
this.

The Sunni Threat

The Sunni part of the equation is the least threatening. If Sunni
guerrillas have managed to regroup, it is disturbing that U.S.
intelligence was unable to prevent the reorganization. But there
is a very real silver lining in this: One of the ways the
guerrillas might have been able to regroup without being detected
was by doing it on a relatively small scale, limiting their
organization to hundreds or even dozens of members.

Certainly, they have many more sympathizers than that, but a
careful distinction must be drawn -- and is not being drawn by
the media -- between sympathizers and guerrillas. Sympathizers
can riot -- they can even generate an intifada -- but that is not
the same as conducting guerrilla war. Guerrillas need a degree of
training, weapons and organization.

The paradox of guerrilla war is that the more successful a
guerrilla offensive, the more it opens the guerrillas to
counteraction by the enemy. In order to attack, they must
communicate, come out of hiding and converge on the target. At
that moment, they can be destroyed and -- more important --
captured. Throwing a large percentage of a guerrilla force into
an attack either breaks the enemy or turns into a guerrilla
disaster.

The U.S. Marines west of Baghdad are not about to be broken.
Therefore, if our assumption about the relative size of the
guerrilla force and the high percentage that have been thrown
into this operation is correct, this force will not be able to
sustain the current level of operations much longer. If the
guerrilla force is large enough to sustain such operations, then
the U.S. intelligence failure is so huge as to be difficult to
comprehend. Protests and riots are problems and create a strain
on resources, but they do not fundamentally affect the ability of
the United States to remain engaged in Iraq.

The Shiite Threat

It is not the Sunni offensive that represents a threat, it is the
Shia. The question is simple: Does al-Sadr's rising represent a
fundamental shift in the Shiite community as a whole, or is it
simply a small faction of the Shia that has risen? The U.S.
command in Iraq has argued that al-Sadr represents a marginal
movement, at odds with the dominant Shiite leadership, lashing
out in a desperate attempt to change the internal dynamics of the
Shiite community.

For this analysis to be correct, a single fact must be true: Ali
al-Sistani, the grand ayatollah of the Iraqi Shia, is not only
opposed to al-Sadr, but also remains committed to carrying out
his basic bargain with the United States. If that is true, then
all will be well for the Americans in the end. If it is wrong,
then the worst-case scenarios have to be taken seriously.

The majority Iraqi Shiite population suffered greatly under the
regime of Saddam Hussein, which was dominated by the Sunni
minority. After the fall of Hussein, the Shia's primary interest
was in guaranteeing not only that a Sunni government would not
re-emerge, but also that the future of Iraq would be in the hands
of the Shia. This interest was shared by the Shia in Iran, who
also wanted to see a Shiite government emerge in order to secure
Iran's frontier from its historical enemy, Iraq.

The first U.S. impulse after the fall of Baghdad was that
Americans would govern Iraq indefinitely, on their terms -- and
without compromising with Iranian sympathizers. That plan was
blown out of the water by the unexpected emergence of a Sunni
guerrilla force. The United States needed indigenous help. Even
more than help, it needed guarantees that the Shia would not rise
up and render the U.S. presence in Iraq untenable.

The United States and the Shiite elites -- Iranian and Iraqi --
reached an accommodation: The United States guaranteed the Shia a
democratic government, which meant that the majority Shia would
dominate -- and the Shia maintained the peace in the south. They
did not so much collaborate with the Americans as maintain a
peace that permitted the United States to deal with the Sunnis.
The end state of all of this was to be a Shiite government that
would permit some level of U.S. forces to remain indefinitely in
Iraq.

As the Sunni rising subsided, the United States felt a decreased
dependency on the Shia. The transitional Iraqi government that is
slated to take power June 30 would not be an elected government,
but rather a complex coalition of groups -- including Shia, Kurds
and Sunnis, as well as small ethnic groups -- that would be
constituted so as to give all the players a say in the future. In
other words, the Shia would not get a Shiite-dominated government
June 30.

It was for this reason that al-Sistani began to agitate for
direct elections. He knew that the Shia would win that election
and that this was the surest path to direct Shiite power.
Washington argued there was not enough time for direct elections
-- a claim that was probably true -- but which the Shia saw as
the United States backpedaling on fundamental agreements. The
jury-rigged system the Americans wanted in place for a year would
give the Sunnis a chance to recover -- not the sort of recovery
the Shia wanted to see. Moreover, the Shia observed the quiet
romance between the United States and some key Sunni tribal
leaders after the capture of Hussein, and their distrust of long-
term U.S. motives grew.

Al-Sistani made it clear that he did not trust the transitional
plan and that he did not believe it protected Shiite interests or
represented American promises. The United States treated al-
Sistani with courtesy and respect but made it clear that it was
not planning to change its position.

In the meantime, a sea change had taken place in Iranian
politics, with a conservative government driving the would-be
reformers out of power. The conservatives did not object to the
deal with the United States, but they wanted to be certain that
the United States did not for a moment believe that the Iranians
were acting out of weakness. The continual hammering by the
United States on the nuclear issue with Iran convinced the
Iranians that the Washington did not fully appreciate the
position it was in.

As Iranian Expediency Council chief and former President Ali
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani bluntly put it Feb. 24: "They continue
to send us threatening messages and continue to raise the four
questions," referring to Washington's concerns about Iran's
nuclear program, opposition to the Middle East peace process,
alleged support of militant groups and human rights. "But they
are stuck in the mud in Iraq, and they know that if Iran wanted
to, it could make their problems even worse."

Al-Sistani did not want the June 30 transition to go forward on
U.S. terms. The Iranians did not want the United States to think
it had Iran on the defensive. A confrontation with the United
States under these circumstances was precisely what was in both
al-Sistani and Iran's interests. Both wanted to drive home to the
Americans that they held power in Iraq and that the United States
was there at the sufferance of the Shia. The United States had
forgotten its sense of desperation during the Sunni Ramadan
offensive, and the Shia needed to remind them -- but they needed
to do so without a rupture with Washington, which was, after all,
instrumental to their long-term plans.

Al-Sadr was the perfect instrument. He was dangerous, deniable
and manageable. U.S. officials have expressed surprise that al-
Sadr -- who they did not regard highly -- was able to create such
havoc. Obviously, al-Sistani could have dealt with al-Sadr if and
when he wished. But for the moment, al-Sistani didn't wish. He
wanted to show the Americans the abyss they faced if they
continued on the path to June 30 without modifying the plan.

The Americans have said al-Sistani has not been helpful in this
crisis. He is not ready to be helpful and won't be until a more
suitable understanding is reached with the United States. He will
act in due course because it is not in al-Sistani's interests to
allow al-Sadr to become too strong. Quite the contrary: Al-
Sistani runs the risk that the situation will get so far out of
hand that he will not be able to control it either. But al-
Sistani is too strong for al-Sadr to undermine, and al-Sadr is,
in fact, al-Sistani's pawn. Perhaps more precisely, al-Sadr is
al-Sistani's ace in the hole. Having played him, al-Sistani will
be as interested in liquidating al-Sadr's movement as the United
States is -- once Washington has modified its plans for a postwar
Iraq.

The worst-case scenario is not likely to happen. The Sunni
guerrillas are not a long-term threat. The Shia are a long-term
threat, but their interests are not in war with the United
States, but in achieving a Shiite-dominated Iraqi state as
quickly as possible -- without giving the United States an
opportunity to double-cross them. Al-Sistani demanded elections
and didn't get them. What he really wants is a different
transition process that gives the Shia more power. After the past
week, he is likely to get it. And Washington will not soon forget
who controls Iraq.

This will pass. But the strategic reality of the U.S. forces in
Iraq is permanent. Those forces are there because of the
sufferance of the Iraqi Shia. The Shia know it, and they want the
Americans to know it. With Washington planning an offensive in
Pakistan, the last thing it needs is to pump more forces into
Iraq. In due course, al-Sistani will become helpful, but the
price will be even higher than before.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.stratfor.com
30200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: April 07, 2004, 12:18:30 PM
BOOK REVIEW


In defense of the Stars and Stripes
Anti-Americanism by Jean-Francois Revel, French-English translation by Diarmid Cammell

Reviewed by John Parker



All across the globe, from Sydney to Siberia, from Quebec to Patagonia, there is one sporting obsession that unifies the entire human race. Young and old, male and female, black, white and every shade in between, there is one pleasurable activity that unifies them all.

 

I'm speaking, of course, about America-bashing. (Why, did you think I was talking about something else?) By 2004, any remaining wisps of sympathy for the Americans who were forced to choose between jumping and burning alive in 2001 had long since dissipated, and the globe had returned to its former habit of treating the United States as the official whipping boy for all the world's ills.

Indeed, anti-Americanism has ascended from its former status as the preoccupation of a relative handful of Jurassic Marxists, professional victims, Third World whiners, and Islamo-fascist troglodytes to the level of a major new global religion. Like any religion, it has its saints (which include the likes of Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh), its martyrs (the Rosenbergs, the Guantanamo Bay detainees and Saddam Hussein's sons), its high priests (Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Abu Bakar Ba'asyir), and its desperately over-eager wanna-bes (eg, Asia Times Online's very own Pepe Escobar, whose viewpoint on any issue can be predicted with absolute accuracy by simply asking "what interpretation of this situation will put the United States in the worst light?").

Curiously, however, while the religion has a hell (America), and a devil (George W Bush), it lacks both a heaven (the collectivist pipe dream having been found wanting) and a god (since the anti-Americans consider themselves as having evolved beyond the need for a deity - save their Islamist faction, which wants to impose its religion forcibly on everyone else). Still, the anti-American cult provides its legions of drooling adherents with the crucial element of any faith: the illusion of meaning in an otherwise meaningless existence. That priceless psychological salve, in this case, is the comforting delusion that, no matter how hypocritical, backward, bigoted, ignorant, corrupt or cowardly the cult's followers might otherwise be, at least they are better than those awful Americans.

Jean-Francois Revel is a distinguished French writer who has, for nearly all his working life, chosen the rockiest path any intellectual can choose: the path of true non-conformity (as distinct from the ersatz, self-described non-conformists one finds on any university campus in the Western world). Specifically, Revel has chosen to confront directly - not only in this volume, but in several earlier books that touched on the issue - the entrenched anti-Americanism of an entire generation of European intellectuals, particularly French ones. Like his countryman Emile Zola (whose explosive article "J'accuse" attacked French society's handling of the Alfred Dreyfus affair), he has dared to defend an unpopular scapegoat and, in so doing, has probably done more to earn the gratitude of Americans than any Frenchman since General Lafayette, who came to the aid of the American revolutionary cause.

The reason that Revel's attitude toward the US is so strikingly different from most of his compatriots is not difficult to find: indeed, one finds it on the very first page of this book, when the author reveals that he lived and traveled frequently in the US between 1970 and 1990. During this time, he had conversations with "a wide range of Americans - politicians, journalists, businessmen, students and university professors, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives, liberals and radicals, and people I met in passing from every walk of life". This simple action - talking to actual Americans and asking them what they think, as opposed to blindly regurgitating European conventional wisdom about what Americans think - was obviously the critical step in separating Revel from the smug, chauvinistic sheep who predominate in his intellectual class. It was a step that the vast majority of this class, then and now, have been unwilling to take: they simply cherish their prejudice against Americans too greatly to face the possibility that real, live examples might not conform to it.

In Monsieur Revel's case, these conversations led to his first book, Without Marx or Jesus, published in 1970. Thirty-four years ago, Revel was "astonished by evidence that everything Europeans were saying about the US was false"; sadly, this situation has not changed in the slightest in the intervening time. Indeed, if anything, the conventional wisdom about the United States is even more wrong today than it was then. Without Marx or Jesus made two main points: first, that major social/political developments taking place in the US in the late 1960s, such as the Vietnam War protests, the American Free Speech movement, and the sexual revolution, constituted a new type of revolution, distinct from the working-class uprising predicted by the Marxist theories then in fashion. Second, Revel predicted that the great revolution of the 20th century would turn out to be the "liberal revolution" - ie, the spread of multiparty democracy and market economics - rather than the "socialist revolution". The latter point may appear to be almost conventional wisdom today, but it was a bold assertion in 1970. Most of the book consisted of a point-by-point rebuttal of the reflexive anti-Americanism of the day, and correctly identified its main psychological wellspring: envious resentment due to Europe's loss of leadership status in Western civilization during the postwar era.

In this first book, Revel also described the definitive proof of the irrational origins of anti-American arguments: "reproaching the United States for some shortcoming, and then for its opposite ... a convincing sign that we are in the presence not of rational analysis, but of obsession". In the 1960s, the best example of this behavior was European attitudes toward US involvement in Vietnam. A startling number of French commentators developed a sudden amnesia about their country's own involvement in Indochina, and the fact that France, while embroiled in its ugly war with the Viet Minh, "frequently pleaded for and sometimes obtained American help". Thus the same French political class that begged president Dwight Eisenhower to send B-29s to save the Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu was only too quick to label the United States a "neo-imperialist", or worse, for subsequently intervening in the unholy mess that the preceding decades of French colonial misrule had largely created.

In Anti-Americanism, which is basically a sequel to Without Marx or Jesus, a more contemporary example of the same phenomenon is given: the nearly simultaneous criticism of the US for "arrogant unilateralism" and "isolationism". As Revel dryly observes, "the same spiteful bad temper inspired both indictments, though of course they were diametrically opposed".

Examples of this psychopathology are almost endless, but the Iraq crisis has certainly provided a profusion of new cases. For example, during the 12 years after 1991, the anti-American press was filled with self-righteous hand-wringing over what was billed as the terrible suffering of the Iraqi people under UN sanctions. But when the administration of President George W Bush abandoned the sanctions policy (a policy that, incidentally, had been considered the cautious, moderate course of action when it was originally adopted) in favor of a policy of regime change by military force - which was obviously the only realistic way to end the sanctions - did these dyspeptic howler monkeys praise the United States for trying to alleviate Iraqis' suffering? No, of course not - instead, without batting an eyelash, they simply began criticizing the United States for the "terrible civilian casualties" caused by bombing.

Innumerable cases like this have made it perfectly clear to Americans that they will automatically be despised no matter what policy option they select. Furthermore, the only rational reaction Americans could have to this situation is to keep their own counsel when it comes to foreign policy, and leave their fair-weather friends - or, more accurately, no-weather friends - at arm's length. Predictably, however, the anti-American cult has a third accusation pre-packaged and ready to go for this very reaction: the inexplicable reluctance of Americans to listen attentively to their perpetually peeved critics is the result of their "arrogant unilateralism"! (Naturally, the possibility that the anti-American cultists' own statements might have played a role in promoting this behavior is never even considered.)

The most notable characteristic of Anti-Americanism, as a text, is the blistering, take-no-prisoners quality of its prose. Even those diametrically opposed to Revel's views would be forced to acknowledge his skills as a pugnacious rhetorician who does not eschew sarcasm as a weapon.

A few examples will suffice: referring to anti-war banners that proclaimed "No to terrorism. No to war", Revel scoffs that this "is about as intelligent as 'No to illness. No to medicine'." Responding to the indictment of the United States as a "materialistic civilization", he says: "Everyone knows that the purest unselfishness reigns in Africa and Asia, especially in the Muslim nations, and that the universal corruption that is ravaging them is the expression of a high spirituality."

Addressing the claim of the Japanese philosopher Yujiro Nakamura that "American culture ignores [the] dark dimension" of human beings, the author observes: "Evidently, Nakamura has never read Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Henry James, Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, [etc], to mention only a few explorers of the depths." And he is positively withering in his contempt for Japanese intellectuals who, in the wake of September 11, opined that America's wealth disqualifies it from speaking in the name of human rights: "Everyone knows that Japan has always been deeply respectful towards [human rights], as Koreans, Chinese and Filipinos can amply confirm." Revel opens his sixth chapter, "Being Simplistic", by recalling the "pitying, contemptuous sneers" that greeted president Ronald Reagan's characterization of the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", then retorts, "it is not apparent that subsequent progress in Soviet studies gives us grounds to call it the 'Benevolent Empire'." And he responds to the claim of conservative British writer Andrew Alexander that "the Cold War was an American plot" by saying: "Following a similar logic, one might build a case that the Hundred Years' War was a complete fabrication by Joan of Arc, who wanted star billing in a pseudo-resistance against the conciliatory, peace-loving English."

In general, Revel's barbs strike most accurately when aimed at his own country. For example, responding to the tired claim that the US is "not a democracy" because it has supported dictatorships in Third World countries, Revel notes: "The history of Africa and Asia swarms with dictatorships of every type ... supported by the French and the British ... But it would very much surprise French living [in that period] if you told them that they didn't live in a democratic country."

Another telling denunciation arises from the statements of Olivier Duhamel, a Socialist deputy in the European Union, who responded to the electoral success of French ultra-rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen by complaining that France was "catching up with the degenerate democracies [such as] the US, Austria and Italy". First, Revel comments on the idiocy of Duhamel's insinuation that the United States is degenerate because Frenchmen voted for an ultra-rightist, then concludes: "The strange thing is that it is always in Europe that dictatorships and totalitarian governments spring up, yet it is always America that is 'fascist'."

Of course, the danger of the author's biting approach is that it could alienate, rather than convince, his readers. But given that the hypocrisy of the anti-Americans has piled up so thickly in recent years that one practically needs a chainsaw to cut through it, there may be no other choice.

Many of Revel's observations about the anti-Americans, such as their amazingly recent advocacy (in many cases) of totalitarian communism, or the fact that many intellectuals in failed societies have sought to blame the US scapegoat instead of engaging in self-criticism, have been made before by other writers. He is at his most original, however, when analyzing the cultists' psychological motivations; for example, contrasting the motives of the anti-American left with the anti-American right. To wit, the left essentially regards the United States as a devil figure, one that it has clung to all the more tightly in the years since its former deity, Marxist collectivism, collapsed in an abyss of poverty and repression. The right, by contrast, resents the United States as a pretender to the throne of global leadership that rightfully belongs to Europe - conveniently ignoring the fact that World Wars I and II, communist ideology, and socialist-influenced economic policies, which are, in actuality, the main factors that resulted in US ascension, all originated entirely in Europe.

Revel also breaks new ground when he discusses the striking tendency of other countries to ascribe their own worst faults to the United States, in a curious "reversal of culpability". Thus the famously peace-loving Japanese and Germans excoriate the US for "militarism"; the Mexicans attack it for "electoral corruption" in the wake of the 2000 election; the British accuse it of "imperialism"; Arab writers condemn it after September 11 for "abridging press freedom" (of course, the Arab states have always been shining beacons of that freedom). The gold medal for jaw-dropping hypocrisy, however, goes to the mainland Chinese, whose unelected dictatorship routinely accuses the United States of "hegemonism". Having been the chief hegemon of Asia for most of the past 5,000 years, the Chinese are in a singularly weak position to condemn the practice. What they actually oppose, of course, is not "hegemonism" itself, but the possibility that any power other than China would dare to practice it.

France has been no exception to this universal rule. Former minister of foreign affairs Hubert Vedrine, in his book Les Mondes de Francois Mitterrand, wrote: "The foremost characteristic of the United States ... is that it has regarded itself ever since its birth as a chosen nation, charged with the task of enlightening the rest of the world." Of course, this was a wholly conventional allegation of US "arrogance", delivered to an adoring choir. But then, a discordant note - Revel alone has the temerity to observe: "What is immediately striking about this pronouncement, the obvious fact that jumps right out, is how perfectly it applies to France herself." The Gallic emperor proves embarrassingly unclothed, for virtually every "arrogant" assertion of uniqueness made by Americans has its uncannily similar counterpart made by Frenchmen: if Thomas Jefferson once said "the United States is the empire of liberty", then countless French politicians have asserted with equal megalomania, "France is the birthplace of the Rights of Man." If anything, Revel does not develop this point highly enough. For, to an American observer of countless anti-American diatribes, the most striking aspect of the United States they describe is how little it resembles the actual, physical United States, and how uncannily it resembles a doppelganger of the writer's own society.

Not every psychological trait of the anti-Americans is discussed by Revel. He does not go far enough, for example, in delineating the fundamentally onanistic character of their rhetoric; it is difficult to explain the obsessive, droning, almost pornographic quality of the criticism, and its deliberate ignorance of easily obtained contrary facts, without understanding that the primary motive of the critics is to obtain pleasure. After all, hasn't the main purpose of bigots and bullies since time immemorial been to build themselves up by tearing down their victims?

Another unmentioned aspect is the sheer adolescent pettiness of the criticism. This can be seen most clearly in international press coverage of the United States, which scarcely ever misses an opportunity to America-bash, even when reporting on areas that are in essence non-political, such as economic statistics and scientific discovery. Revel discusses the typical example of a story in the economics journal La Tribune, which gleefully announced "The End of Full Employment in the USA" when the US unemployment rate climbed to 5.5 percent in early 2001 (at the time, the French government was congratulating itself for reducing French unemployment to only twice this level). More recently, the British Broadcasting Corp gave exhaustive coverage to a technical problem with the US Mars Spirit Rover, but barely mentioned the successful effort to solve the problem. This spiteful editorial decision, and countless others like it, was typical of an organization in which balanced, accurate news coverage has become secondary to the holy task of denouncing Uncle Sam.

Finally, one must mention the increasingly ill-disguised anti-Semitism of many America-bashers. Of course, such toxic ideas are to be expected of reactionary Islamist fanatics, who are so profoundly ignorant that they practically regard Americans and Jews as synonymous. But one increasingly hears grumbling about "neo-conservatives" from non-Muslim critics who really want to say "scheming Jews", but dimly sense that this choice of words is not permissible. How delicious the human comedy is - that European elites, whose greatest crime, the Holocaust, has not even passed from living memory, should begin to re-enact that demagogic crime in their increasingly poisonous anti-American rhetoric, as though absolutely nothing had been learned in almost 60 years of postwar struggle to advance freedom, human rights and democracy! It may be that those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it; but the apparent inability of Europeans, and others, to avoid such self-destructive cultural patterns raises the question of whether learning from the past is even possible.

Without a doubt, however, the defining trait of the cultists is their moral (if not physical) cowardice. While using Latin Americans as an examplar of this quality, Revel quotes the Venezuelan writer Carlos Rangel: "For Latin Americans, it is an unbearable thought that a handful of Anglo-Saxons, arriving much later than the Spanish and in such a harsh climate that they barely survived the first few winters, would become the foremost power in the world. It would require an inconceivable effort of collective self-analysis [emphasis mine] for Latin Americans to face up to the fundamental causes of this disparity. This is why, though aware of the falsity of what they are saying, every Latin American politician and intellectual must repeat that all our troubles stem from North American imperialism." In fact, the Latins are hardly unique in cowering tremulously at the prospect of "collective self-analysis": with minor changes in specifics, Rangel's fundamental point could apply equally well to most of Africa, the Slavic societies of Eastern Europe, the nations of the South Asian sub-continent, and last (but definitely not least) the benighted Arab world, which has repeatedly shown itself to be the global champion of finger-pointing and denial (as if that could make up for its glaring backwardness in virtually every other respect).

It is ironic, however, that so many East Asians would be drawn to the cult, since they, out of all the regions of the developing world, have the least reason to feel inferior to the United States (after all, many societies in the region have already surpassed the US by various objective criteria). It may be that in the Asian "school" of anti-Americanism, a different psychological dynamic is at work: since Asians are as convinced of their innate cultural superiority as all the other critics (though with infinitely more justification than most), it must make them very uncomfortable that, in almost every case, their societies' escape from thousands of years of static, inward-looking despotism only began when US, or British, influence arrived. In addition, of course, need one really point out the massive, obvious US influence on the postwar economic development, political evolution, and even the popular cultures of Asian societies? Or the fact that virtually the entire governing class of the most successful Asian economies was educated in the United States? It appears that some Asians feel subconsciously belittled by how much they owe the US, and respond by petulantly attacking their historic benefactor.

So is anti-Americanism just an exercise in onanistic hypocrisy, or does it have a real-world cost? It does, but the cost is not primarily the hurt feelings, or terrorist-caused deaths, of Americans - even if this was the main consequence, no one would care, since most of the world (to judge by their own words) already regards Americans as a non-human species, somehow introduced, one assumes, to North America by alien spacecraft. (Of course, this calculated, malicious demonization of Americans as "the other" is hugely ironic, since the US, due to its diverse ethnic composition and immigrant origins, arguably represents the entire human race more fully than any other single nation-state.) For decades, the anti-Americans have compared the US to the Roman Empire in the fond hope that a similar "decline and fall" would someday materialize (given that what followed the Roman collapse was centuries of war, ignorance, and barbarism, one questions their motives). Regrettably for the cultists, though, the US is large enough, is self-assured enough, and its political stability and economic momentum are great enough, that it will only continue to prosper regardless of their actions. To illustrate, countless commentators have parroted the cliche that the "war on terrorism" is unwinnable, but how many have noted the obvious, undeniable corollary that Osama bin Laden's self-declared war on the United States is equally unwinnable?

Therein lies another exquisite irony: the costs of anti-Americanism will be borne not by Americans, but by others. And their numbers are vast: Cubans, North Koreans, Zimbabweans, and countless others suffer and starve under their respective tyrannies because the democratic world's chattering classes, obsessed with denouncing the United States, can't be bothered with holding their criminal regimes to account. Meanwhile, in Iraq, fascist rabble, with no discernible political program save a pledge to kill more Americans, try desperately to extinguish the slightest hope of democracy, economic growth, and stability for that long-suffering land; but the world, instead of helping to beat back the wolves at the door, basks in anti-American schadenfreude. How countless are the political problems, cultural pathologies, and humanitarian disasters that fester unnoticed, all over the globe, as the anti-American cult, wallowing in ecstatic bigotry, desperately scrutinizes every utterance of the Bush administration for new critical fodder.

Indeed, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say that in 2004, anti-American sentiment has become the biggest single obstacle to human progress. It sustains repressive dictatorships everywhere; excuses corruption, torture, the oppression of women, and mass murder; provides ideological oxygen for vile, stupid "revolutionary movements" like the Maoist insurgents in Nepal; and has even promoted the spread of disease (as when, for example, Europeans haughtily dismissed Bush's AIDS initiative as insincere - God forbid that they should concur with any policy of the wicked Bush, even at the cost of a few million more African lives). By focusing monomaniacally on "why America is wrong", instead of asking "what is right", the global anti-American elite has massively failed to fulfill the most fundamental responsibility of the intellectual class: to provide dispassionate, truthful analysis that can guide society to make proper decisions. And it has contemptuously cast aside the irreplaceable, post-Cold War opportunity to irreversibly consolidate the "liberal revolution" praised by Revel - in which inheres the only true hope of lasting, global peace and development - all in the name of redressing the gaping psychological insecurities of its members.

None of this is to say that criticism of specific US policies, or aspects of US culture, is not entirely legitimate (and of course, inside the US, the ability to speak out publicly against such things is a cherished, constitutionally guaranteed, and frequently exercised right). Indeed, one is struck, when reading this book, by Revel's repeated emphasis of this very point. The author is hardly a universal apologist for US actions; in fact, he gives many examples of areas in which he disagrees with US government policies. However, Revel's critiques of the US, especially for American readers, can be easily differentiated from those of the anti-American cultists: his criticisms are reasonable, fair-minded, and based on accurate information; whereas those of the professional anti-Americans are unreasonable, unfair, and based on the willful disgregard of all contrary evidence. Rather than legitimate criticism, what Monsieur Revel, and I, deplore is the quasi-religious, obsessive, fanatical brand of anti-Americanism: the kind that blames the United States for every problem, everywhere, first, always, and forever; the kind that automatically identifies with, and supports, any criminal political thug anywhere on the globe, just because he happens to declare himself opposed to the United States; the kind that in essence has no other values or priorities at all, save the insatiable need to denounce the United States; the kind that is congenitally incapable of self-criticism, but searches endlessly, with inexhaustible creativity, for additional evidence that it can use for its interminable, tendentious show trial of the US.

I am reluctant to point out the weaknesses of Anti-Americanism, since I am in such profound agreement with its basic thesis. Nonetheless, in the interests of balance, there are some weak points.

First, the book is somewhat repetitive. The chapters are largely devoted to rebutting particular claims of the anti-Americanists - eg, that the United States promotes the allegedly nefarious globalization process (Chapter 2), that US culture is "extinguishing" others (Chapter 5), that US government policy is "simplistic" (Chapter 6), or that the United States is just about the worst society that has ever existed anywhere (Chapter 4). Partly as a by-product of this organizational scheme, similar types of material, eg denunciations of Islamic extremism, reappear in several different chapters.

Another problem is that, since the book was written in French primarily for a French audience, many of its specific examples refer to domestic French political figures and situations, which may not be familiar to international readers.

Finally, this reviewer noted at least one factual error. In a discussion of European reaction to the contested US presidential election of 2000, Revel asserts that no presidential elector has selected the minority candidate in its state since the beginning of the 19th century. (The US constitution provides for an indirect "electoral college" system for presidential elections, such that when an individual voter selects, say, the Democratic candidate for president, he or she is not actually voting for that candidate directly, but rather for a slate of "democratic electors" who, if the candidate wins a plurality in that state, are supposed to cast all the state's "electoral votes" for the Democrats.) In fact, there have been seven cases of "faithless electors" since 1948, most recently in 1988, when a Democratic elector in West Virginia selected vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen for president, and presidential nominee Michael Dukakis for vice president (presumably, he thought Bentsen would make a better president). However, this error does not contradict the author's point, which is that incidents of this type have been rare. Also, European critics of the electoral-college system are somewhat tardy: Americans have been arguing for electoral-college reform for at least 200 years, and recently, 75 percent of Americans, or more, have expressed in polls a desire to elect the president directly.

These admitted flaws do not reduce the importance, and value, of Anti-Americanism as a necessary antidote to the poisonous torrent of crude, atavistic anti-US hatred that spews forth daily from newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. In the introduction, Revel recalls how Without Marx or Jesus, 34 years ago, was also greeted with strident denunciations from the baying jackals of the anti-American cult. But predictably, this hysterical response (Revel's Italian translator even attempted to rebut the book's arguments in his footnotes) only served to pique the public's interest: ordinary readers were quick to sense that any writer who had struck such a nerve obviously had something important to say, and Without Marx or Jesus became a smash hit.

It is hardly surprising that this pattern was repeated with Anti-Americanism, which has topped the French best-seller list. (Curiously, and completely contrary to what foreign stereotypes would lead one to expect, the book has been much less successful in the US - this is primarily because the anti-American obsession is entirely one-way; most Americans are barely even aware the cult exists.) The book's success shows conclusively that at least some Europeans sense the hypocrisy and intellectual vacuity of the anti-Americanists, and are once again developing an appetite for a balanced, truthful depiction of the US, as opposed to the spurious fiction they have largely been spoon-fed thus far.

Clearly, this book will not reach the committed fanatics. However, one hopes that at least a handful of fair-minded, reasonable people in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, who have the requisite moral courage to consider contrary views, will read it. I have really only scratched the surface of I>Anti-Americanism's virtues in this review: for example, Chapter 2, which critiques the anti-globalization movement, is probably the most devastating indictment of that incoherent, infantile crusade ever committed to paper.

In our time, anti-Americanism has become a crushing, Stalinist orthodoxy, an ossified system of bigoted dogmas that ruthlessly ostracizes all who would question it. It has become boring, even to the French. In this atmosphere, Monsieur Revel's book is truly a breath of fresh air. I only wish I had written it.

Anti-Americanism by Jean-Francois Revel, French-English translation by Diarmid Cammell. English edition copyright 2003 by Encounter Books. ISBN: 1893554856, 176 pages, price US$25.95.
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