DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Brand new pup needs equpment advice......
on: April 18, 2004, 09:36:32 AM
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / STICK FIGHTING FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS
on: April 16, 2004, 02:46:18 PM
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.
PD: Alfonso-- posiblemente quisieras anadir donde y cuando sera' el seminario
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
"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.
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
"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!
"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 , , ,
Anyway, another one from the Eskrima Digest in reponse to a comment of mine:
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
"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
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.
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.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: April 15, 2004, 11:26:44 AM
This one is quite long. I recommend it highly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?"
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?
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.
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
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
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,
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
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?
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
IIRC the Yamboa book was first published in 1951. A bone from the Eskrima Digest to gnaw on for those so inclined:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
08 April 2004
Gaming Out Iraq
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: April 07, 2004, 12:18:30 PM
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.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: April 05, 2004, 01:29:57 PM
Justices: Are Dog Searches Police Searches?
By David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON ? Drug-sniffing dogs are among the most useful weapons in the government's war on drugs, but the Supreme Court said today that it will decide whether the use of a sniffing dog amounts to a search by the police.
The Constitution forbids "unreasonable searches" by the police, and the high court in the past has said officers may not search a car for drugs unless they have some reason to suspect the motorist is breaking the law.
In November, the Illinois Supreme Court threw out drug charges against a motorist who was stopped for speeding on Interstate 80. After one officer had stopped the car, a second police officer arrived and circled the car with a "drug detection dog." When the dog smelled something in the trunk, the officer opened it and found marijuana. The motorist, Ray Caballes, was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In reversing his conviction, the Illinois court in a 4-3 decision said the "canine sniff" amounted to an unjustified search.
Today, however, the Supreme Court said it would hear the state's appeal in Illinois vs. Caballes.
State prosecutors asked the high court to rule that a dog sniffing the air does not amount to a search.
"A canine sniff is not a search under the 4th Amendment," said Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan in her appeal.
She cited decisions involving luggage and highway checkpoints in which the justices said that the use of a drug-sniffing dog did not invalidate a legitimate search.
Moreover, a sniffing dog does not violate anyone's right to privacy, she said, because dogs simply detect odors in the air.
"Drug detection dogs have become an effective and widely used law enforcement tool," she said.
They have been used at airports to sniff baggage and in some high schools to detect drugs in lockers.
Despite approving comments in their past opinions, the justices have not ruled squarely on whether a sniffing dog amounts to a search by police.
In the Illinois case, the state judges said that while officers had the full authority to pull over a speeding motorist and to ask him questions, they did not have the authority to bring in a drug-sniffing dog to check the vehicle. "Calling in a canine unit unjustifiably broadened the scope of an otherwise routine traffic stop into a justification," the state Supreme Court said.
If the high court were to uphold that decision, it could limit the use of drug-sniffing dogs to situations where the police have reason to suspect that drug laws are being violated. However, if the high court disagrees and rules that the use of a drug-sniffing dog is not a search, the decision could give police greater leeway in using canines as drug detectors.
The case will be heard during the fall.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: April 05, 2004, 01:13:15 PM
Is Military Creeping
Into Domestic Spying
By ROBERT BLOCK and GARY FIELDS
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
In a little-noticed side effect of the war on terrorism, the military is edging toward a sensitive area that has been off-limits to it historically: domestic intelligence gathering and law enforcement.
Several recent incidents involving the military have raised concern among student and civil-rights groups. One was a visit last month by an Army intelligence agent to an official and students at the University of Texas law school in Austin.
The agent demanded a videotape of a recent academic conference at the school so that he could identify what he described as "three Middle Eastern men" who had made "suspicious" remarks to Army lawyers at the seminar, according to the official, Susana Aleman, the dean of student affairs.
The Army, while not disputing that the visit took place, declined to comment, saying the incident is under investigation.
Last year, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the nation&s primary source of global maritime intelligence, demanded access to the U.S. Customs Service&s database on maritime trade, saying it needed information to thwart potential terrorist activity. Customs officials initially resisted the Navy&s demands but eventually agreed to give naval intelligence much of what it wanted.
In an interview earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief Robert C. Bonner said he shares data only after getting Navy assurances that the information won&t be abused. Navy spokesman Jon Spiers says the Office of Naval Intelligence first approached customs about sharing inbound foreign cargo information in December 2002, and he denies there is anything improper about the request. The agency "has not overstepped any authority or crossed the line dividing law enforcement from military operations," he says.
Lt. Spiers adds that when the Navy&s top spy agency gains access to data about American companies and individuals, the information will be "subjected to a meticulous legal review" and will be retained only if it is directly related to the agency&s mission to identify potential foreign threats.
In another sign of military interest in domestic information-gathering, the Defense Intelligence Agency&s new antiterrorism task force is looking to share information with law-enforcement officials in California and New York City, according to an August 2003 General Accounting Office report.
Historically, Americans haven&t trusted the military to do domestic police work. The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, passed in response to abuses by federal troops in the South after the Civil War, prohibits the use of the military "to execute the laws" of the U.S. That&s been widely interpreted as a ban on searching, arresting or spying on U.S. civilians by federal troops.
But the law has been violated, notably during the Vietnam War, when Army operatives spied on antiwar activists on campuses. Meanwhile, Congress has eased the law&s limits to allow the military to help prosecute the war on drugs.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House sought to further loosen restrictions to allow the military to take on a new domestic-security role. It has mostly been rebuffed. In May the House refused to approve a White House-backed proposal to give the Central Intelligence Agency and the military authority to scrutinize personal and business records of U.S. citizens. And the Senate last year blocked funding for a Pentagon project known as the Total Information Awareness program, which was supposed to collect a vast array of information on individuals, including medical, employment and credit-card histories.
The issue of an expanding military role in domestic affairs also surfaced last year with the Pentagon&s creation of the Northern Command, or Northcom, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The new command, the first such military command designed to protect the U.S. homeland from a terrorist attack, has responsibility for the U.S., Canada, Mexico, portions of the Caribbean and U.S. coastal waters. Northcom&s commander, Gen. Ralph "Ed" Eberhart, is the first general since the Civil War with operational authority exclusively over military forces within the U.S.
Gen. Eberhart has stoked concern among civil-liberties advocates by saying that the military and civilians should be involved in developing "actionable intelligence" for the government. In September 2002, he told a group of National Guardsmen that the military and the National Guard should "change our radar scopes" to prevent terrorism. It is important to "not just look out, but we&re also going to have to look in," he said, adding, "we can&t let culture and the way we&ve always done it stand in the way."
Northcom officials and other military leaders play down his remarks. "No one ran out after that speech and started snooping," one official says. Gen. Eberhart echoed that last September on PBS&s "News Hour": "We are not going to be out there spying on people, " he said, though he added, "we get information from people who do."
Further evidence of the blurring of the lines between the civilian and military worlds comes in a job-vacancy notice for a senior counterintelligence advisor to Northcom. The duties, according to the notice, include providing advice that goes beyond potential terrorism to include "other major criminal activity, such as drug cartels and large-scale money laundering" -- work usually under the purview of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service.
Another little-known Pentagon group, the Counterintelligence Field Activity, was set up two years ago. With 400 service members and civilians stationed around the globe, the CIFA was originally charged with protecting the military and critical infrastructure from spying by terrorists and foreign intelligence services. But in August, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, issued a directive ordering the unit to maintain a "domestic law-enforcement database that includes information related to potential terrorist threats directed against the Department of Defense."
The CIFA also works closely with the FBI and is conducting some duties for civilian agencies. For example, according to Department of Agriculture documents, the CIFA is in charge of doing background checks on foreign workers and scientists employed by the department&s agricultural-research service. The group also provides information to the Information and Security Command, or Inscom, the Army&s main intelligence organization, based at Fort Belvoir, Md.
The Army intelligence agent who investigated the law-school conference was assigned to Inscom. Army officials reviewing the Texas incident are investigating whether the agent may have overstepped his boundaries and whether may have tried to win the voluntary cooperation of the faculty and students. But they say that he was reacting to a possible counterintelligence threat to the military. It isn&t clear why there were Army lawyers at the conference in the first place, though some officials say the attorneys wanted to learn more about Muslim traditions and Islamic law.
Civil-rights advocates are skeptical. Robert Pugsley, professor of law at the Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, says the Texas incident is "a chilling example" of the military&s overreaching. "It&ll multiply like fleas on a dog" if left unchecked, he says.
"What we are starting to see is 50 years of legal refinement and revisions for oversight being quietly jettisoned," adds Steven Aftergood, an intelligence policy specialist at the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit, left-leaning think tank in Washington.
But James Carafano, a policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, says he believes the military has honored posse comitatus. His concern is that hard distinctions have been created between who has jurisdiction in homeland defense versus homeland security. It's distinctions terrorists might exploit, he says. "We may potentially be creating vulnerabilities."
Write to Robert Block at email@example.com
and Gary Fields at firstname.lastname@example.org
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans
on: April 05, 2004, 11:49:17 AM
How a Marine
Lost His Command
In Race to Baghdad
Col. Joe Dowdy's 'Tempo'
Balance of Mission, Men
General's Call Name: 'Chaos'
By CHRISTOPHER COOPER
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
April 5, 2004; Page A1
Two weeks into the war in Iraq, Marine Col. Joe D. Dowdy concluded the crowning military maneuver of his life, attacking an elite band of Iraqi troops and then shepherding 6,000 men on an 18-hour, high-speed race toward Baghdad.
But no praise awaited the First Marine regimental commander as he pushed into the tent of his superior, Maj. Gen. James Mattis, on April 4, 2003. Instead, Col. Dowdy was stripped of his command, which effectively ended his 24-year Marine career. In a final blow, Col. Dowdy says, the general asked him to empty his sidearm and turn over the ammunition. "He thought I was going to try to kill myself," the colonel says.
Assuming a battlefield command is the pinnacle of a Marine's career. Being removed is near the nadir, exceeded only by a court martial. It's extremely rare for the modern U.S. military to relieve a top commander of duty, especially during combat. Col. Dowdy, 47 years old, was the only senior officer in any of the military services to be dismissed in Iraq. He says he would rather have taken an enemy bullet.
Col. Dowdy's firing was even more unusual because he didn't commit any of the acts that normally precipitate a dismissal: failing to complete a mission, disobeying a direct order, breaking the rules of war. "It was a decision based on operating tempo," says Lt. Eric Knapp, a spokesman for the First Marine Division. He wouldn't elaborate.
The colonel's removal sparked media coverage and intense speculation in the Marine Corps. The reasons for his firing weren't clear, mainly because the colonel and his superiors refused to talk about it. Now, interviews with Col. Dowdy and a score of officers and enlisted men show the colonel was doomed partly by an age-old wartime tension: Men versus mission -- in which he favored his men.
Gen. Mattis and Col. Dowdy personify all that is celebrated in Marine Corps culture. Gen. Mattis, 53, is a "warrior monk," as some of his men put it, a lifelong bachelor consumed with the study and practice of battle tactics. Col. Dowdy is beloved for the attention he pays to his men, from the grunts on up.
The qualities of these two Marines eventually tore them apart. Gen. Mattis, a Marine for 33 years, saw speed as paramount in the Iraq war plan. Col. Dowdy thought sacrificing everything for speed imperiled the welfare of his men.
The dispute was stoked by widespread but mistaken assumptions about how the Iraqis would fight. The desire for speed stemmed from the Pentagon's expectation of a fierce, protracted battle in Baghdad, with far less resistance in other areas. But it turned out that Baghdad fell easily, while the countryside continued to seethe with resistance.
Today, as U.S. forces tangle with an enemy they clearly underestimated, the military still is debating whether speeding to the Iraqi capital was the best way to proceed.
Gen. Mattis declined to be interviewed for this story. His chief of staff, Col. Joe Dunford, says a decision made during combat is impossible to explain now. "It's just one of those things when you try to put the pieces back together, there's no way you can."
Over a plate of chicken quesadillas near his home in Carlsbad, Calif., Col. Dowdy admits to making mistakes. But he doesn't believe any of them warranted his removal. He's proud that only one Marine died under his command. "At least I don't have a butcher bill to pay," he says.
Dust caked the 900 trucks and tanks in Col. Dowdy's regiment when they emerged from the desert March 22, 2003. Two days into the war, the regiment was headed to Nasiriyah, a sprawl of slums and industrial compounds where Col. Dowdy's problems would begin.
Since he was a boy in Little Rock, Ark., the colonel had dreamed of an assignment like this. Commander of the 6,000-man First Regiment for nearly a year before the war began, Col. Dowdy was deeply familiar with the plan for invading Iraq.
With his shaved head and powerful frame, Col. Dowdy looks like the archetypal Marine. His men praise him for treating them as equals, despite the Marines' stratified organization. Departing from custom, Col. Dowdy, a married father of three, invited enlisted men as well as officers to the annual Christmas party at his home. When the Marines were camped in Kuwait in the run-up to the war, Col. Dowdy declined an air conditioner when it became clear that only officers would get them, recalls Gunnery Sgt. Robert Kane.
"As a colonel, he was entitled to certain privileges, but he was the type of man, if his Marines didn't have it, he didn't have it," says Sgt. Kane, who served under Col. Dowdy in Iraq and in East Timor in 1999.
By several accounts, Col. Dowdy was destined to win a general's star after the war in Iraq. "I know people, supporters, peers who think Joe Dowdy is a water walker," says Anthony Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general. When Col. Dowdy served under him, "he was the finest lieutenant I had," Gen. Zinni says.
Like many in his regiment, Col. Dowdy lacked extensive battle experience. In 1983, he saw limited action in Beirut, where 241 Marines were killed in a suicide bombing. He served in Somalia in 1993 and 1994, where Marines were on the vanguard of what became a bloody humanitarian mission.
Gen. Mattis mapped the Marines' broad plan for Iraq, which many defense analysts consider tactically brilliant. Two 6,000-man regiments of the First Marine Division were to drive toward Baghdad. Col. Dowdy's regiment was to head to the city of al Kut -- where an 8,000-man contingent of Saddam Hussein's best Republican Guard soldiers were dug in.
It was presumed the Iraqis had chemical weapons, so the plan was to avoid engaging them directly. Col. Dowdy's unit was to act as a decoy, diverting Mr. Hussein's soldiers and allowing the other U.S. regiments to rush in from the northwest through a gap in Iraqi defenses to get to Baghdad.
Col. Dowdy's route would take him through the city of Nasiriyah. Another Marine unit, called Task Force Tarawa, was charged with keeping order there. Pentagon officials assumed the city would offer little resistance because it had long been oppressed by Mr. Hussein. That assumption turned out to be wrong.
Pushing North: The Marine war plan called for Col. Joe Dowdy to speed to the river town of al Kut on a lightly defended route before doubling back and joining the main attack. But Col. Dowdy and his men encountered far more resistance than anticipated, which slowed their progress considerably.
The plan began to unravel in Nasiriyah. When Col. Dowdy and his men arrived outside the city, they found their passage blocked by a massive firefight. Word filtered back that Task Force Tarawa had suffered casualties, including 18 dead. Adding to the confusion was a U.S. Army supply unit, which had mistakenly stumbled into Nasiriyah. Several soldiers in that unit were dead. Others, including Pvt. Jessica Lynch, had been taken prisoner.
Outside the city, Col. Dowdy and his staff debated what to do. Several hundred trucks in Col. Dowdy's train lacked armor, and squeezing through a fierce battle zone would be complicated, especially on Nasiriyah's narrow streets.
A potential 150-mile bypass around Nasiriyah didn't seem feasible. Col. Dowdy wasn't sure he had enough fuel and didn't know what resistance he might face. The First Regiment was stuck.
The halt was anathema to Gen. Mattis, a devotee of a modern military doctrine known as "maneuver warfare." Though Marines have practiced the technique for years, the Iraqi war was its first large-scale test. Instead of following rigid battle plans and attacking on well-defined fronts, this tactic calls for smaller forces to move quickly over combat zones, exploiting opportunities and sowing confusion among the enemy. The technique is summed up in Gen. Mattis' radio call name: "Chaos."
Gen. Mattis had fought in Iraq before, in the first Gulf War. After that, he commanded the Seventh Regiment of the First Division, known as one of the most battle-ready units in the Marines. "I'd follow him again," says Gunnery Sgt. Kane, who fought under Gen. Mattis in Afghanistan. "His whole life is the Corps."
Slight in stature and fierce in demeanor, Gen. Mattis burnished his reputation in Afghanistan, where his men captured an airstrip outside Kandahar. The daring raid cut to the heart of the Taliban resistance. "The Marines have landed and we now own a piece of Afghanistan," Gen. Mattis told reporters there, just a few months after Sept. 11, 2001. The Pentagon scrambled to disavow the remark, but the Marines loved it.
To some in the military, the Iraq war promised the perfect test of maneuver warfare. At the time, the U.S. thought the fiercest fighting would begin near Baghdad and involve protracted urban fighting and chemical weapons. Speed was everything. The 1,000-mile journey to Baghdad, many thought, was just a warm-up.
Stopped outside Nasiriyah, Col. Dowdy says, he wasn't surprised when Gen. Mattis's top aide, Brig. Gen. John Kelly, showed up. The two stood talking on a bridge outside the city, watching the fighting. Gen. Kelly, 53, who has been a Marine for 33 years, had served mostly in academic and administrative posts. "I thought I knew what war was," he says. "It's difficult to imagine if you haven't been there."
Col. Dowdy's regiment had been stuck in Nasiriyah for more than 24 hours. In retrospect, he says he should have been more decisive about moving through the city.
One of the cardinal rules of maneuver warfare stipulates that generals should allow commanders in the field, such as Col. Dowdy, to make tactical decisions. Gen. Kelly says he never ordered Col. Dowdy to move through Nasiriyah and never threatened to remove him from his post. But Lt. Col. Pete Owen, Col. Dowdy's chief of staff, has a different recollection. "When we were stalled out in Nasiriyah, Gen. Kelly came up to me and said, 'If Col. Dowdy doesn't get this column moving, I'm gonna pull him.' "
Late that night, Col. Dowdy decided to move. He gave battalion commander Lt. Col. Lew Craparotta one hour to figure out how to form a cordon of soldiers that would shield the regiment as it passed through the city. Col. Craparotta wasn't pleased. "I don't think next time I want to plan something like that on the hood of my Humvee in the pitch black," he says.
The regiment rumbled through Nasiriyah, past blackened hulks of U.S. vehicles and bodies of dead Marines waiting to be recovered by Task Force Tarawa. It was a sight, Col. Dowdy says, that would remain with him throughout the campaign.
While the other regiments headed north on a four-lane highway, Col. Dowdy's group rolled up a two-lane country road that ran through dozens of villages, brimming with enemy forces. An official Marine account later called it a "running gunfight through the Mesopotamian mud."
The Iraq regime flooded the road with thousands of fighters. Soon Col. Dowdy's men were engaged in battle. A raging sandstorm mixed with rain cut the Marines' visibility to almost zero. The regiment suffered its first casualty when a rocket-propelled grenade blew through a Humvee door and severed a captain's hand, according to men on the scene.
As bullets flew and the captain was being hauled out by helicopter, Col. Dowdy, two days without sleep, slouched in his Humvee, with his staff around him. He fell asleep.
Making their way through Nasiriyah, Col. Dowdy's men passed by hulks of armored vehicles and bodies of Marines. Here, Lt. Harry Thompson of the First Regiment covers up a body until it can be retrieved by another Marine unit.
In wars, commanders fall asleep in meetings, on the radio, even during firefights. Col. Dowdy nodded off for about five minutes, his men say. But his timing couldn't have been worse. As he dozed, Gen. Mattis's top aide, Gen. Kelly, saw the colonel sleeping. Some of Col. Dowdy's men who were there say they believe that made a lasting impression.
Gen. Kelly declines to comment on Col. Dowdy's removal, saying such matters are "sacred ground" that only Gen. Mattis can address. In answer to general questions about the war, he says a battlefield commander's top priority is to "put it all aside and focus on the mission. I've seen a lot of people learn this the hard way."
Two days later, on March 27, 2003, the U.S. Army ordered an indefinite halt to the war to allow supply lines to catch up with American fighters.
Col. Dowdy's regiment was camped about 50 miles southeast of Kut. He had his men capture a nearby airfield so supplies could be airlifted in. The next day, Gen. Mattis dropped by to check on his men -- and was infuriated by what he saw: A cratered runway and a Marine captain sitting on a bulldozer reading a paperback book. The captain said he hadn't been given an order to fix the runway.
A few hours later, Col. Dowdy says, he got an earful from Gen. Mattis, who said he should have made sure the job of fixing the runway was done. Col. Dowdy now says he should have issued a written order. He considered stripping the bulldozer operator of his command, but thought better of it. "If you fire everyone who makes a mistake, pretty soon you're standing there all by yourself," he says.
Despite the misstep, Col. Dowdy was receiving daily praise from Gen. Mattis's staff, according to Col. John Toolan, who was then the general's chief of staff. Intelligence reports suggested that capturing the airport had drawn the attention of Mr. Hussein's Republican Guard soldiers. The Iraqis soon announced their presence by lobbing artillery shells at Col. Dowdy's regiment.
The decoy ploy was working. The other Marine regiments sped on the Iraqis' untended western flank, toward Baghdad, according to plan.
At this point, it could be argued that Col. Dowdy had fulfilled his mission. The war plan called for him to retreat and take a bypass around Kut. Gen. Kelly acknowledges this was the original plan.
But after seeing villagers in the area waving and cheering at the Marines, Gen. Kelly believed an enemy collapse was imminent. "There was so little resistance," he says. "I figured they either deserted or were so far into their holes that they didn't want to fight." On April 1, 2003, the Fifth Regiment seized a bridge near Kut. At that point, Gen. Kelly says, Hussein's once-feared Baghdad Division became "irrelevant."
In an unexpected move, Gen. Kelly ordered Col. Dowdy to head to Kut on a "limited objective" mission. Once Col. Dowdy got there, he was to decide if his regiment should go through the city, which could trim several hours of travel time.
Col. Dowdy didn't think pushing through Kut would be wise. It would be a quicker route to Baghdad, but he thought it would be dangerous. His men had seen fortified foxholes, sandbagged buildings, mines along road shoulders and several thousand Iraqi fighters. With its narrow bridges and urban tangle, Kut looked even more perilous than Nasiriyah. Was saving a few hours worth the risk?
"In war, you have competing demands between men and mission," Col. Dowdy says. "Which one wins out? There's no easy answer."
His superiors confirm that he wasn't ordered to take his regiment through the city. But an aggressive Marine could have chosen to plow through to get to Baghdad faster.
The generals were growing impatient. The U.S. Army had reached the outskirts of Baghdad. On the morning of April 3, 2003, the 15th day of the war, Gen. Kelly called Col. Dowdy to say he wanted the assault on Kut to begin immediately. Col. Dowdy said he was awaiting fresh ammunition and checking a report that the road to Kut was mined.
Gen. Kelly was furious, according to Col. Dowdy. "Those aren't considerations, they're excuses," Col. Dowdy recalls the general saying.
Col. Dowdy says the general continued: "Why aren't you driving through al Kut right now? You know what? I'm going to recommend that you be relieved of command. Maybe Gen. Mattis won't do it. Maybe he'll decide he can get along with a regiment that isn't worth a s-. But that's what I'm going to recommend."
Gen. Kelly says he doesn't recall that specific conversation. He says he appreciated the potential risk to life that driving through Kut would pose. In a recent e-mail from Iraq, where he is serving a second tour, he wrote, "The choice between mission and men ... is never an either-or, but always a balance."
Within an hour or so, Col. Dowdy and two of his battalions moved into Kut. They immediately met resistance, they say, with fighters popping out of doorways and alleys. "My machine gun was going crazy," says Warrant Officer Thomas Parks, a gunner riding in the lead.
The battalions ground to a halt in front of an Iraqi tank, which Gunner Parks hit with a rocket, prompting return fire from the two-story mud huts lining the road. The door of Gunner Parks' Humvee was blasted off its hinges, while lead filled the door of Col. Dowdy's vehicle, according to both men.
Moments later, Gunner Parks glanced back and saw Col. Dowdy sprinting toward a family of Iraqi civilians. The colonel swept up two children and shoved the family into a bomb crater for cover, Gunner Parks says. An Iraqi fighter moving up an alley aimed a machine gun at Col. Dowdy. Gunner Parks shot him in the head. "It took me three tries," he says.
The decision on whether to push through Kut was ultimately up to Col. Dowdy. But in the hours up to and during the fight, he and his staff say they received conflicting guidance. On the field telephone, Gen. Kelly was telling him to push through Kut. But on the radio, division command was urging withdrawal. "There was a lot of confusion," Col. Dowdy says. "Go. Don't go." Gen. Kelly agrees there was discussion about what the regiment should do.
So Col. Dowdy made a crucial decision: He decided not to go through the city. Getting to Baghdad early wasn't worth the risk, he says.
"At that point, maybe you're damned if you do and damned if you don't," says Sgt. Maj. Gregory Leal, the top enlisted man in Col. Dowdy's regiment. "There's no book out there that says, 'This is how you liberate and occupy a country.' "
Around sunset, the First Regiment started moving to rendezvous with the rest of the division via a 170-mile bypass around Kut. Col. Dowdy's men had collected 30 prisoners and, the colonel says, "I felt like taking them up to division and saying, 'Look, g-ddamn it, we hit resistance in Kut, and here's your proof.' "
Headlights on and ducking intermittent fire from Iraqi peasants, the regiment covered the miles in about half the 36 hours it was supposed to have taken. On April 4, 2003, the regiment rolled into Numaniyah, where the Marines had planned to meet. The regiment had completed its mission with ample time to join the assault on Baghdad.
But Col. Dowdy's career was dead.
A helicopter awaited when Col. Dowdy arrived in Numaniyah. Col. Dowdy and Sgt. Maj. Leal climbed aboard. Gen. Mattis had asked to see them. They were flown to the general's camp, about 50 miles away.
When they arrived, Sgt. Maj. Leal says Gen. Mattis took him aside. "How's your boss doing?" the sergeant-major recalls him saying. "I said, 'He's doing fine, sir.' " Then, according to Sgt. Maj. Leal, the general snapped: "You're not engaged enough. You've got four battalions and you're not pressing the attack.' "
"I told the general not to fire him," Sgt. Maj. Leal recalls. "I said, 'Tell me what we need to do and we'll do it.' "
Men under Gen. Mattis's command say he makes decisions quickly and never looks back. Sgt. Maj. Leal says he believes Gen. Mattis had already made up his mind.
Artillery shells screamed overhead and the tanks and trucks of the Fifth Regiment rumbled past as Col. Dowdy made his way to Gen. Mattis's tent. Inside, the colonel sat facing Gens. Mattis and Kelly as an aide served hot tea. The colonel says he knew in his gut that he was about to be fired. "It's like I'm someplace I've never been before," he recalls. "I'm failing miserably and I don't know why."
He says Gen. Mattis began with a sympathetic tone: "We're going to get you some rest." Gen. Mattis brought up the bulldozer incident. Then, according to Col. Dowdy, the general said Col. Dowdy worried too much about enemy resistance and noted his lack of battle experience.
Col. Dowdy says he replied: "I've been fighting my way up this m-f-ing road for the past two weeks." He recalls pleading with Gen. Mattis to reconsider. "Think of my family, my unit," he recalls saying.
It was not to be. When Gen. Mattis requested his ammunition, Col. Dowdy assured him that he still considered himself a Marine. The general relented. Soon Col. Dowdy got on a helicopter to Kuwait. He called his wife, Priscilla. She'd already seen the news on CNN.
Word of his dismissal quickly filtered back to his men. Marines who were there say there was fleeting talk of a mutiny. "I wanted to go with him," says Gunnery Sgt. Kane. "A lot of guys felt that way. If Col. Dowdy said, 'Get your gear, you're coming with me,' I would've gone, even if it meant the end of my career."
In ensuing days, media outlets and Marine Internet chat rooms speculated about the colonel's defrocking. A day or so after his dismissal, Col. Dowdy wrote a letter that was posted on a Web site catering to families of the First Marine Division.
"As all of you are aware ... I am no longer a member of the Regiment," the letter said. "Rest assured, no one, except me is responsible for the reassignment. Priscilla and I will remain loyal to the Marine Corps and to our Division and its very capable leaders." Col. Toolan, Gen. Mattis's chief of staff, took over the command. The regiment went on to Baghdad, setting up in a slum once known as Saddam City.
A few weeks later, Col. Dowdy ran into Warrant Officer Parks, who was heading back to the U.S. like most of the First Division. The colonel arranged for his subordinate to get civilian clothes so he could take a commercial airline and meet his wife in New York. "He called down to command for me and said, 'I got a hero coming, take care of him,' " Gunner Parks says. "Then he got a little choked up, I got a little choked up and I got on a helicopter and left."
Col. Dowdy says he took no joy in his next assignment, as head of personnel at the Marine Air Station in Miramar, Calif. In June, the First Division gave him a performance evaluation. It faulted him for "being fatigued beyond normal" and "not employing the regiment to its full combat potential," he says, quoting from the document. It also said he was "overly concerned about the welfare" of his Marines, according to Col. Dowdy. By policy, the Marines don't comment on performance evaluations.
Last November, for the first time in 25 years, Col. Dowdy and his wife skipped the Marine Corps Ball. The First Division returned to Iraq this spring. Col. Dowdy received permission to retire early, and left the Marines last month. "I think I'm a guy they probably didn't know what to do with," he says.
The issue of speed in Iraq remains in debate. Last fall, the Army War College, a Pentagon-financed school where officers analyze tactics, released a study saying there was little evidence that speed affected the outcome of the war. The stiff resistance outside Baghdad suggests U.S. forces may have done better by moving at a more measured pace, entering more cities, rooting out fighters and leaving more troops in the provinces to enforce order, the report said.
However, in another study yet to be finalized, the military's Joint Center for Lessons Learned says speed was integral to U.S. military success in Iraq. In a speech in February, Adm. E.P. Giambastiani, commander of the Joint Forces, said speed "reduces decision and execution cycles, creates opportunities, denies an enemy options and speeds his collapse."
Retired Gen. Zinni says that, for Col. Dowdy, speed was academic. "The boss is the boss," he says. "If Gen. Mattis feels you need to move faster, then you move faster." Still, he says Col. Dowdy's firing could haunt Gen. Mattis too. "This is not going to add to Jim Mattis's luster."
Sgt. Leal, now stationed in Texas, often tells Col. Dowdy that his reputation will be cleared one day. "I think he'll always be known as the guy who chose men over mission," Sgt. Leal says. "If that's how he's remembered, it's OK."
Write to Christopher Cooper at email@example.com
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / UFC Comments?
on: April 04, 2004, 07:56:23 AM
Comments on Friday night's UFC?
I may have more comments later when I have more time, but for the moment:
1) As for the headline fight of Tito Ortiz v. Chuck Liddell: Although both fighters are very good, for some reason I've never really cared for either of them. TO did not seem to have much problem solving CL's superior stirking skills and, having tried to close without much enthusiasm or luck, was dropped as he stood there trying to cover against a strong, well targeted barrage by CL.
2) I was looking forward to Tim Slyvia v. Andrei Andropov (or something like that): This fight I was looking forward to. In his previous fight, AA taken Vladimir Matyushenko well out of his game (and from training at the RAW Gym I knew just what a capable quality fighter Vlady is) and dropped him hard with striking skills. I haven't really seen much of TS, but his height hinted at the possiblity of an interesting matchup. However TS, who was stripped of the heavyweight title for steroids, again tested positive (only slightly positive they said, and perhaps due to residue from prior use they said) and so they through in "Cabbage" for a beating. That said AA again demonstrated patient and strong striking skills that suggest he is a very tough man to close.
3) Robbie Lawler vs. Nick Diaz (?) I enjoyed this fight a lot. RL is cobra quick and in the flush of a 22 year old's testosterone joy of fighting but ND surprised with sophisticated striking defense and striking skills of his own. Both men gave and took strong shots with good composure until a rocked ND surprised RL with a hook mid-barrage by RL and dropped him face first. A very alert referee made a fine stoppage here. This is the fight that I will be going back to watch again.
It was interesting to see how important striking has become in the UFC with most of the fights this night having little or no grappling.
That's all for now.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans
on: April 02, 2004, 01:21:26 PM
My second post of the day-Crafty
Race to Get Lights On
In Iraq Shows Perils
Despite Stumbles, Attacks,
Corps of Engineers' Team
Is Finally Making Progress
Col. Semonite's Travel Tips
By NEIL KING JR.
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
April 2, 2004; Page A1
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- When Col. Todd Semonite arrived here last fall to direct a massive push to restore Iraq's electricity grid, his orders were simple: Stress speed over all else.
Hauling in some key generators from overseas proved too slow on ships, so he flew them on cargo planes at several times the cost. He riled Pentagon auditors by allowing his contractors to buy millions of dollars in parts without competitive bids. His haste extended to his armed drivers, who careened along Iraq's clogged highways in sport-utility vehicles at extreme speeds -- both to get around the country faster and to avoid danger.
THE FIGHT FOR IRAQ
"The point is to always keep moving," Col. Semonite said on a recent trip north of Baghdad, as he chewed on a grape Tootsie-Pop, his typical lunch. "It is hard to trigger a bomb accurately to hit a Suburban going 100 miles an hour."
Col. Semonite's team is making significant progress in the race to rebuild Iraq's power system before the planned U.S. handover of power to Iraqis in June. But his experience shows how rebuilding Iraq is proving to be a far more dangerous and expensive task than the U.S. and its private contractors expected. That lesson was on gruesome display this week with the killing and mutilation Wednesday of four American contractors.
The U.S. originally tapped the engineering giant Bechtel Group Inc. to restore electricity in Iraq at a time when the military expected a swift victory and the administration foresaw a smooth reconstruction effort funded in large part by Iraqi oil revenue. Bechtel, like others, so misjudged the dangers of postwar Iraq that it set aside just $500,000 to hire six security guards, compared with the 169 it has today.
By last summer it was clear that the U.S. plan to rely on one civilian contractor with limited funding was not working. Thirteen aging power stations were in various states of disrepair, while looters and saboteurs undermined the system further.
In September, the U.S. sent in Col. Semonite of the Army Corps of Engineers to oversee three additional U.S. contractors armed with almost unlimited muscle and wads of cash -- mostly from Iraqi oil revenue. The group has since installed hundreds of megawatts of new power generation, erected 692 huge transmission towers and strung thousands of miles of high-voltage cable. The Corps' success on the electricity push is one reason the U.S. military, instead of the Agency for International Development, will now guide most of the $14 billion in additional rebuilding work slated for Iraq this year.
But that success has come at a high price. Attacks so far have killed 27 of the Army Corps' subcontractors and security guards, most in roadside ambushes similar to the one that killed the four American security guards in Fallujah on Wednesday. The Corps' work is costing about $900,000 per megawatt of production capacity, while Bechtel's more-deliberate power projects are costing about 30% less. Total spending on the power grid is expected to exceed $5 billion.
Bringing steady power to Iraq's cities is an urgent priority for the Bush administration, as thousands of new appliances pour into the country and factories come on line. For Bechtel, the job began just weeks after Baghdad fell on April 9, when dozens of the company's engineers streamed into Iraq to undertake a range of reconstruction work. It had a broad, $680 million contract from AID, the government agency the Bush administration picked to lead reconstruction.
Bechtel's first two months were devoted to compiling a detailed survey of Iraq's infrastructure, amid tussles with the country's barely functional ministries. Early lists of "vital needs" from the Electricity Ministry included demands for hundreds of Mercedes trucks with compact-disc players. "It was laughable," said Mike Robinson, head of the Bechtel electricity project in Iraq, who arrived in Baghdad May 15.
By late August, with tempers flaring across the country at the slow pace of rebuilding, Bechtel was still debating with the ministry and AID over which electricity projects to tackle. The company had ordered only $2 million in emergency spare parts for the country's dilapidated power stations. "We faced a big problem," said Randy Richardson, head of electricity for the Coalition Provisional Authority, the Pentagon-led organization that functions as Iraq's de facto government.
Bechtel says it stands by its work. "People think we were sent to rebuild all of Iraq," says Cliff Mumm, Bechtel's Iraq project manager. "We weren't. We came with a very small pot of money to do very limited work."
Bechtel's work was also hampered by overlapping bureaucracies within Baghdad. Worsening security and the company's own intense caution also kept many of its engineers hunkered down in Baghdad.
On Aug. 25, Gen. John Abizaid, the head of the Pentagon's Central Command, which oversees the Middle East, convened a two-day summit on Iraq's infrastructure at CentCom headquarters in Tampa, Fla. Iraq's electricity woes posed a serious security concern, the unhappy general told the assembled CPA officials and Army brass.
Gen. Abizaid proposed a new approach. "The idea was to move in as we would after a major disaster and throw money and people at the problem to fix it in a hurry," recalls Major Gen. Carl Strock, a senior Army Corps official who attended the meeting.
The new strategy called for boosting Iraq's power generation to at least 6,000 megawatts by June. That's about as much as Washington and its immediate suburbs consume in a day, but nearly twice the country's output at the time. Bechtel's assigned targets -- 445 megawatts of new power and the same amount in revamping of old plants -- wouldn't even come close to the target.
So the group turned to the Army Corps of Engineers. Col. Semonite, a 45-year-old West Point grad who had just returned to the U.S. from a three-year deployment in Europe, got the nod a week later to be the project's on-the-ground leader. Leaving his wife and four children behind in Virginia outside Washington, he landed in Iraq Sept. 15 with about a dozen men. His Iraq team soon gave a nickname to the former ski racer from Vermont: the Energizer Bunny.
While the Corps' effort was getting under way, U.S. officials decided to make an all-out push at plants around the country to boost production above the prewar level of 4,500 megawatts by Oct. 9, the six-month anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. Iraqis did most of the work with whatever they had on hand.
"We worked like crazy, but it was all too much," said Gazi Aziz, a plant manager at the Baghdad South power station, a huge, decrepit electricity plant on the edge of the capital. A few patches were made, and in early October all of the plant's six generators were revved to capacity for the first time in years. The rickety boilers spat out steam and water. Pipes sprang massive leaks. "It fell apart in five days," said Mr. Aziz.
? Despite dramatic progress, Iraqis will still suffer shortages in the hottest months.
? The Bush administration has hired four prime contractors to oversee a total of more than $5 billion in Iraq power work
? The companies, with dozens of subcontractors, have erected 794 huge 400-kilovolt transmission towers across Iraq and nearly 4,000 miles of high-voltage wire.
? Average power production nationwide this week still met only about 75% of the average demand.
? The biggest power gap is still in Baghdad, which may not have full-time electricity until sometime next year.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense; WSJ research
Still, on Oct. 9, a beaming Paul Bremer, President Bush's top envoy to Iraq, strode into a Baghdad press conference to tick off the accomplishments of the first six months. Topping the list was news that three days earlier, Iraq had produced 4,518 megawatts of power -- just above the country's estimated prewar level.
In reality, electricity production had hit what turned out to be a false peak and was falling fast.
About a mile from where Mr. Bremer made the announcement, Col. Semonite's team had set up shop in a white-marble mansion with a pool in the yard and gold fixtures in the bathrooms -- the former home of Saddam Hussein's spurned first wife.
To do the job, Col. Semonite's Restore Iraqi Electricity task force had $1.05 billion, most of it drawn from Iraqi oil revenue. The Corps also had three U.S. firms ready to go under open-ended contingency contracts signed before the war began. Eleven days after arriving in Baghdad, Col. Semonite issued orders for the companies to tackle 21 electricity assignments across the country, a list that soon jumped to 26.
Washington Group International Inc., a large Idaho-based engineering company, would handle projects in the north; Fluor Corp. of Aliso Viejo, Cal., the region around Baghdad; and Perini Corp. of Framingham, Mass., the southern third of the country.
Bob Spaulding, the wiry leader of Fluor's team in Iraq, said the pace from the start was unprecedented in his 15 years with the company. "We're being told to do work on a schedule that's twice as fast as we'd do it in the U.S.," he said.
Fluor's biggest job, the Qudas power station, lies at the end of a rutted road about 20 miles north of Baghdad. When the first Corps engineers arrived at Qudas on Oct. 18, it had two working Chinese-built power units producing 250 megawatts, or enough to power a town of about 50,000 people. Another two units sat in crates in the Jordanian port of Aqaba, bought in the late 1990s under the United Nations oil-for-food program but never delivered. Two days later, the engineers broke ground to dig foundations for four smaller units to add another 172 megawatts -- a $160 million project. Fluor's team arrived a week later.
The job would need nearly 12,000 tons of concrete, so Fluor had a concrete plant assembled that could churn out 800 tons a day and brought in a fleet of concrete trucks. The Electricity Ministry provided more than 200 Iraqi workers. The company leased five heavy cranes from Kuwait, including a massive 450-ton lifter that took 25 semitrailers to haul in.
Fluor then scoured the globe to find available generators and transformers for the four new units. The company tracked down two generators in Brazil and sent technicians to cut them off their foundations. Four huge transformers were found in Mexico. Fluor marshaled the rest of the heavy equipment from across the U.S. The company leased a ship, gathered all the equipment in Houston, and got it to the plant by early February.
Getting the two oil-for-food units to the site posed another challenge. Each required its own U.S. military-protected convoy stretching 19 trucks long. Conducted under intense secrecy, the two trips each took six days.
"God, is this beautiful," Col. Semonite said, surveying the Qudas site one morning as Iraqi workers scurried amid a welter of cranes and cement mixers.
Fluor and the Army Corps have cut a few corners in the interest of time, he conceded. They poured foundations in a matter of hours without testing the ground conditions. If equipment had to be airlifted in, they did it, without worrying about cost. "But so far, no snags," said Col. Semonite, whose tour of duty in Iraq ended last month.
In all, the Corps has orchestrated 41 airlifts for power supplies, 20 of which used chartered Russian-built Antonovs, the world's biggest cargo planes.
The Corps team, in its haste, has made blunders. Both the General Accounting Office and Pentagon auditors are now evaluating whether the Corps' contractors stayed within federal procurement rules when buying big-ticket items without competitive bidding or obtaining proper documentation for sole-source subcontract awards. Col. Semonite's deputies gave the work final billing approval, despite strong objections from Pentagon auditors. Officials declined to provide additional specifics on the continuing investigations.
One of 68 towers, 200 feet or taller, replaced to reconnect the southern city of Basra to Baghdad.
In Col. Semonite's trip from Qudas site to the Beiji power station in tumultuous northern Iraq the next day, speed would be of the essence. Getting there meant skirting Samara and Tikrit and driving straight through the town of Beiji, among the most dangerous byways in Iraq.
Bundled in a flak jacket and helmet, Col. Semonite traveled in an unarmored Chevrolet Suburban with two machine-gunners in the front seat, another SUV leading, and three more in back. Six of his eight bodyguards were Iraqis with wooden-handled AK-47 assault rifles. Col. Semonite always made a point of leaving on day trips, even long ones, after 9 a.m. or so on the logic that most roadside bombs were detonated in the early hours of the day. The other rule was to avoid stopping at all costs, even if that meant driving up the wrong side of the freeway or cruising along the shoulder of the road to avoid traffic jams.
South of Tikrit, he pointed out where two Korean subcontractors, working for the Washington Group, were gunned down along the road at the end of November. On Jan. 5, two other Corps subcontractors, both French, died in an ambush near Fallujah west of Baghdad. The task force has also lost 23 Iraqi security guards to other attacks.
"It's a horrible loss," Col. Semonite said, gripping his seat as the Suburban, skirting a traffic jam, nearly veered off the road. "But we can't let the dangers slow us down."
Beiji is Iraq's largest power station, tucked against bare mountains in one of the most dangerous areas of the country. Operating out of a ramshackle trailer with 10 Iraqi employees and one computer on site, Bechtel began small-scale work on the belching, 20-year-old plant in January after months of squabbles with Iraq's Electricity Ministry. The $30 million job is dirty and intricate, involving hundreds of spare parts not easily found on the open market.
Adnan Bashir, a former Beiji plant manager who is now head of Bechtel's Iraqi team at the site, said security worries kept Bechtel's own engineers away for months. Difficulties in tracking down needed parts have impeded the work, too. "It's not much," he said, standing in the Bechtel warehouse in front of a few motors and pumps on a shelf and stacks of insulation.
A team of Iraqi welders had just started refurbishing one of the plant's leaking boilers. Another group in greasy overalls was busy taking apart a turbine inside the main plant.
Bechtel officials don't dispute that the Beiji work was slow to get started but insist that the work will be completed on time this summer.
Up a muddy lane a few minutes walk from the plant, the Army team bustled among 28 trailers housing more than 40 workers from Washington Group and five subcontractors. All had arrived since October. Despite the occasional mortar round from across the river, work hooking up eight mobile generators and transformers was well under way. All of the equipment had been airlifted in from abroad on 14 huge cargo jets.
Col. Semonite, though, would like to see more progress. "OK, when are these going to start coming on line? Tomorrow?" he said, tromping through puddles as three Washington Group engineers tagged along.
The engineers exchanged glances and then one of them said, "Eight to 10 days."
"Oh, come on. Faster," Col. Semonite shot back.
Write to Neil King Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans
on: April 02, 2004, 12:58:46 PM
Aaron Bank, 101; OSS Officer Became 'Father of the Green Berets'
By Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer
Retired Army Col. Aaron Bank, who led a number of daring missions during World War II but was best known for his postwar role in organizing and serving as the first commander of the Army's elite Special Forces, has died. He was 101.
Bank, who was known as "the father of the Green Berets," died Thursday of natural causes at his home in an assisted-living facility in Dana Point, said his son-in-law, Bruce Ballantine.
During World War II, Bank was a special operations officer for the Office of Strategic Services, the top-secret government agency formed to gather intelligence and organize resistance forces behind enemy lines.
The OSS, forerunner of the CIA, was disbanded soon after the war. But Bank and others were convinced that the Army should have a permanent unit whose mission would be to conduct unconventional operations.
In 1951, the chief of the Army's Psychological Warfare staff, who had been impressed by OSS Special Operations during the war, instructed Bank to staff and obtain approval for the creation of an OSS-style operational group.
In 1952, after Bank and other key staff members had made their case, the Army approved 2,300 spaces for men in a Special Forces unit ? the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) ? at Ft. Bragg, N.C.
"I wanted none but the best," Bank said in a 1968 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "First, they had to be double volunteers; that is, they had to volunteer for parachuting and behind-enemy-lines duties, which takes a special flair, a special type of personality. We had to work up all the manuals and training procedures for demolition, sabotage, new and different ways of handling weapons."
But most important, Bank said, "We had to teach them the classic aim and purpose of their service ? the organizing of civilian natives into guerrilla forces in enemy-held territory."
Bank later wrote a memorandum suggesting that Special Forces soldiers be allowed to wear berets as a mark of distinction. He listed three possible colors for the berets: purple, wine-red or green. But the Army didn't allow distinctive headgear at the time and the idea was turned down.
It wasn't until 1962, four years after Bank retired from the military, that President John F. Kennedy authorized Army Special Forces to wear berets. Kennedy, Bank later said, "picked the green because he was an Irishman."
Today there are about 7,700 soldiers in five active-duty and two National Guard Special Forces groups.
At Ft. Bragg, which is still the home of the Green Berets, Bank is considered a military icon.
"Col. Aaron Bank is a legend within the Special Forces community," Maj. Robert Gowan, spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, said Thursday. "His commitment and service to our country is unsurpassed. He was a man far ahead of his time?. His vision and initiative allowed the Army to create Special Forces as we know them today."
Born in New York City, Bank began working summers in his teens as a lifeguard and swimming teacher. He liked the work so much, he later said, that by the late 1920s it had become something of a career.
"I'd go to Nassau in the Bahamas to work during the winter and then to Biarritz in southern France during the summer," he recalled in the 1968 interview. "It was a plush life."
He was in and out of Europe over the next decade and learned to speak French and German fluently. But in the late 1930s, sensing the inevitability of war, he returned home and joined the Army. By the time the United States entered the war, Bank had been commissioned a second lieutenant.
In 1943, the 40-year-old Bank was serving as a tactical training officer to a railroad battalion stationed at Camp Polk, La. when he saw a bulletin announcing that volunteers with foreign language capabilities would be interviewed for "special assignments."
Once in the OSS, he said, he began a long training course that taught him "to do all the things that regular branches of the service frowned on" ? guerrilla warfare, sabotage, espionage, escape and evasion tactics.
He also learned parachuting. As commander of one of the three-man teams that dropped into southern France before the Allied Mediterranean invasion in August 1944, he and his men posed as civilians and helped French Resistance leaders organize a guerrilla force that blew up bridges, power lines and railroad tracks, and ambushed German columns.
In December 1944, Bank received what he considered the most extraordinary assignment of his career: to recruit and train 170 anti-Nazi German POWs and defectors who would parachute with him into the Austrian Alps, where they would pose as a German mountain infantry company.
The primary goal of the top-secret mission, dubbed Iron Cross, was to capture high-ranking Nazi leaders, including Adolf Hitler, who were expected to seek refuge in the area as the war in Europe neared an end.
Had the operation gone through and had they been successful in capturing Hitler, Bank told The Times in 1987, "the war would have been over overnight." But in April 1945 ? after three months of training in France ? the mission was scrubbed.
"I never cried in my life, but I damn near cried when they told me it was aborted," Bank said in a 1993 Times interview.
Bank said he had heard two versions of why the mission was canceled. "One was that the American 7th Army was ready to crack into the Inn Valley. And it was a short time later that they did." And because many of the Germans on the mission were pro-communist, he said, he heard that "the State Department didn't want to drop a big team of party communists into Austria toward the latter part of the war."
Hitler, it turned out, was in Berlin at the time; he committed suicide on April 30, 1945.
After the aborted Iron Cross mission, Bank was parachuted into the jungles of Indochina to search for Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. His team located 165 French internees at three different locations in the Vientiane area of Laos.
Bank, who also served in the Korean War, retired from the Army in 1958 and moved to San Clemente.
In 1972, at age 70, he began working full time as chief of security at a private oceanfront community in Capistrano Beach, a job he held until he was 85.
Extremely fit and vigorous most of his life, the 5-foot-8, 140-odd-pound Bank swam around the San Clemente pier every day until he was 74. He then took to running 40 minutes a day on the hilly streets near his home.
Bank continued a daily regimen of lifting weights, riding a stationary bike, walking and participating in an exercise class at the assisted-living facility in Dana Point until he was hospitalized three weeks ago.
Over the years, Bank wrote two books: "From OSS to Green Berets: The Birth of Special Forces" (Presidio Press, 1987); and "Knights Cross" (Birch Lane Press, 1993), a novel co-written with E.M. Nathanson, author of "The Dirty Dozen."
"Knights Cross" was based, in part, on Bank's real-life exploits with the aborted Iron Cross mission, but the novel had a twist: The mission to capture Hitler is not aborted and Bank's fictional alter ego succeeds in capturing the German leader.
"I think of Aaron as a national treasure," Nathanson told The Times. "He was a gracious gentleman and a dedicated warrior. There would seem to be a conflict between those two phrases, but they went together very well with him."
Bank is survived by his wife, Catherine; their two daughters, Linda Ballantine of Dana Point and Alexandra Elliott of Anaheim; and a granddaughter.
A funeral service, with full military and Special Forces honors, will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Riverside National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, P.O. Box 14385, Tampa, FL 33690.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / staff training (Sibat - Bangkaw)
on: April 02, 2004, 12:51:32 PM
Woof Hank, SG:
Hey, SG I was wondering who that anonymous post was-- pretty good!
Hank, I'm in the middle of a busy day and so for the moment will only add to SG's post that:
There is no Lameco staff in DBMA.
The part that SG discussed about being able to repeat a strike is in the context of establishing one's bubble.
Concerning our use of KK, most of it is in "thirds grip" with one palm up and one palm down and the two hands dividing the staff into three roughly equal parts. With in this context the hands do slide around to other positions, but this is the core position. As such this is more of a medio range structure and one suitable to heavier weapons.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / a moment of silence...
on: April 02, 2004, 12:38:35 PM
A Sad Howl:
I met Elmer when he was assisting GM Luna Lema one night at the Inosanto Academy. He seemed like a fine man as well as eskrimador. Not only is this a great loss to his family, students and friends but also to the system which he inherited.
The wood is consumed, but the fire burns on.
On Behalf of the Dog Brothers and DBMA a sad howl of mourning,
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bahala Na system
on: March 30, 2004, 05:53:23 PM
GM Leo's story is well known and familiar to readers of Guro Inosanto's book "The Filipino Martial Arts" -- in preparation for General MacArthur's return to the Philippines, LG was selected with a handful of men to unload from a submarine and row ashore in a rubber dingy to Luzon and radio back to Gen MacArthur on enemy troop movements and harass the enemy. This they did for a year or so and highly recommended is LG's remembrance of these events "Memories Ride the Ebb of Tide" which I would think can be found on their website http://www.gironarnisescrima.com/
I have an as-yet-unseen 40 minute interview with GM Leo in his basement which will see the light of day one of these days. GM Leo was one of my favorite people (a wonderful energy to him) and to me it was quite inspiring to see, for example, the scar on his hand as he told the story of how it came to be (roughly "I parried the Japanese soldier's bayonet and cut his arm off at the elbow and shoved him to the next man in our triangle formation to finish the kill because more were coming").
His Bahala Na Larga Mano Arnis/Eskrima comes from these experiences and GM Leo trained GM Tony Somera for many years to be his true heir and carry on his system.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 30, 2004, 08:23:21 AM
1239 GMT -- PHILIPPINES -- Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said March 30 that government security forces seized 80 pounds of TNT and arrested four people who are believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Islamist militant group. Arroyo said the men planned to carry out Madrid-style bomb attacks against trains and shopping centers in the capital city of Manila. However, other government officials said the only evidence they had of any plans to carry out such attacks reportedly had come from some of the detained suspects during interrogation.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: March 29, 2004, 01:41:40 PM
An Essential War
Ousting Saddam was the only option.
BY GEORGE P. SHULTZ
Monday, March 29, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST
We have struggled with terrorism for a long time. In the Reagan administration, I was a hawk on the subject. I said terrorism is a big problem, a different problem, and we have to take forceful action against it. Fortunately, Ronald Reagan agreed with me, but not many others did. (Don Rumsfeld was an outspoken exception.)
In those days we focused on how to defend against terrorism. We reinforced our embassies and increased our intelligence effort. We thought we made some progress. We established the legal basis for holding states responsible for using terrorists to attack Americans anywhere. Through intelligence, we did abort many potential terrorist acts. But we didn't really understand what motivated the terrorists or what they were out to do.
In the 1990s, the problem began to appear even more menacing. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were well known, but the nature of the terrorist threat was not yet comprehended and our efforts to combat it were ineffective. Diplomacy without much force was tried. Terrorism was regarded as a law enforcement problem and terrorists as criminals. Some were arrested and put on trial. Early last year, a judge finally allowed the verdict to stand for one of those convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Ten years! Terrorism is not a matter that can be left to law enforcement, with its deliberative process, built-in delays, and safeguards that may let the prisoner go free on procedural grounds.
Today, looking back on the past quarter century of terrorism, we can see that it is the method of choice of an extensive, internationally connected ideological movement dedicated to the destruction of our international system of cooperation and progress. We can see that the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 2001 destruction of the Twin Towers, the bombs on the trains in Madrid, and scores of other terrorist attacks in between and in many countries, were carried out by one part or another of this movement. And the movement is connected to states that develop awesome weaponry, with some of it, or with expertise, for sale.
What should we do? First and foremost, shore up the state system.
The world has worked for three centuries with the sovereign state as the basic operating entity, presumably accountable to its citizens and responsible for their well-being. In this system, states also interact with each other--bilaterally or multilaterally--to accomplish ends that transcend their borders. They create international organizations to serve their ends, not govern them.
Increasingly, the state system has been eroding. Terrorists have exploited this weakness by burrowing into the state system in order to attack it. While the state system weakens, no replacement is in sight that can perform the essential functions of establishing an orderly and lawful society, protecting essential freedoms, providing a framework for fruitful economic activity, contributing to effective international cooperation, and providing for the common defense.
I see our great task as restoring the vitality of the state system within the framework of a world of opportunity, and with aspirations for a world of states that recognize accountability for human freedom and dignity.
All established states should stand up to their responsibilities in the fight against our common enemy, terror; be a helpful partner in economic and political development; and take care that international organizations work for their member states, not the other way around. When they do, they deserve respect and help to make them work successfully.
The civilized world has a common stake in defeating the terrorists. We now call this what it is: a War on Terrorism. In war, you have to act on both offense and defense. You have to hit the enemy before the enemy hits you. The diplomacy of incentives, containment, deterrence and prevention are all made more effective by the demonstrated possibility of forceful pre-emption. Strength and diplomacy go together. They are not alternatives; they are complements. You work diplomacy and strength together on a grand and strategic scale and on an operational and tactical level. But if you deny yourself the option of forceful pre-emption, you diminish the effectiveness of your diplomatic moves. And, with the consequences of a terrorist attack as hideous as they are--witness what just happened in Madrid--the U.S. must be ready to pre-empt identified threats. And not at the last moment, when an attack is imminent and more difficult to stop, but before the terrorist gets in position to do irreparable harm.
Over the last decade we have seen large areas of the world where there is no longer any state authority at all, an ideal environment for terrorists to plan and train. In the early 1990s we came to realize the significance of a "failed state." Earlier, people allowed themselves to think that, for example, an African colony could gain its independence, be admitted to the U.N. as a member state, and thereafter remain a sovereign state. Then came Somalia. All government disappeared. No more sovereignty, no more state. The same was true in Afghanistan. And who took over? Islamic extremists. They soon made it clear that they regarded the concept of the state as an abomination. To them, the very idea of "the state" was un-Islamic. They talked about reviving traditional forms of pan-Islamic rule with no place for the state. They were fundamentally, and violently, opposed to the way the world works, to the international state system.
The United States launched a military campaign to eliminate the Taliban and al Qaeda's rule over Afghanistan. Now we and our allies are trying to help Afghanistan become a real state again and a viable member of the international state system. Yet there are many other parts of the world where state authority has collapsed or, within some states, large areas where the state's authority does not run.
That's one area of danger: places where the state has vanished. A second area of danger is found in places where the state has been taken over by criminals or warlords. Saddam Hussein was one example. Kim Jong Il of North Korea is another.
They seize control of state power and use that power to enhance their wealth, consolidate their rule and develop their weaponry. As they do this, and as they violate the laws and principles of the international system, they at the same time claim its privileges and immunities, such as the principle of non-intervention into the internal affairs of a legitimate sovereign state. For decades these thugs have gotten away with it. And the leading nations of the world have let them get away with it.
This is why the case of Saddam Hussein and Iraq is so significant. After Saddam Hussein consolidated power, he started a war against one of his neighbors, Iran, and in the course of that war he committed war crimes including the use of chemical weapons, even against his own people.
About 10 years later he started another war against another one of his neighbors, Kuwait. In the course of doing so he committed war crimes. He took hostages. He launched missiles against a third and then a fourth country in the region.
That war was unique in modern times because Saddam totally eradicated another state, and turned it into "Province 19" of Iraq. The aggressors in wars might typically seize some territory, or occupy the defeated country, or install a puppet regime; but Saddam sought to wipe out the defeated state, to erase Kuwait from the map of the world.
That got the world's attention. That's why, at the U.N., the votes were wholly in favor of a U.S.-led military operation--Desert Storm--to throw Saddam out of Kuwait and to restore Kuwait to its place as a legitimate state in the international system. There was virtually universal recognition that those responsible for the international system of states could not let a state simply be rubbed out.
When Saddam was defeated, in 1991, a cease-fire was put in place. Then the U.N. Security Council decided that, in order to prevent him from continuing to start wars and commit crimes against his own people, he must give up his arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction."
Recall the way it was to work. If Saddam cooperated with U.N. inspectors and produced his weapons and facilitated their destruction, then the cease-fire would be transformed into a peace agreement ending the state of war between the international system and Iraq. But if Saddam did not cooperate, and materially breached his obligations regarding his weapons of mass destruction, then the original U.N. Security Council authorization for the use of "all necessary force" against Iraq--an authorization that at the end of Desert Storm had been suspended but not cancelled--would be reactivated and Saddam would face another round of the U.S.-led military action against him. Saddam agreed to this arrangement.
In the early 1990s, U.N. inspectors found plenty of materials in the category of weapons of mass destruction and they dismantled a lot of it. They kept on finding such weapons, but as the presence of force declined, Saddam's cooperation declined. He began to play games and to obstruct the inspection effort.
By 1998 the situation was untenable. Saddam had made inspections impossible. President Clinton, in February 1998, declared that Saddam would have to comply with the U.N. resolutions or face American military force. Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad and returned with a new promise of cooperation from Saddam. But Saddam did not cooperate. Congress then passed the Iraq Liberation Act by a vote of 360 to 38 in the House of Representatives; the Senate gave its unanimous consent. Signed into law on October 31, it supported the renewed use of force against Saddam with the objective of changing the regime. By this time, he had openly and utterly rejected the inspections and the U.N. resolutions.
In November 1998, the Security Council passed a resolution declaring Saddam to be in "flagrant violation" of all resolutions going back to 1991. That meant that the cease-fire was terminated and the original authorization for the use of force against Saddam was reactivated. President Clinton ordered American forces into action in December 1998.
But the U.S. military operation was called off after only four days--apparently because President Clinton did not feel able to lead the country in war at a time when he was facing impeachment.
So inspections stopped. The U.S. ceased to take the lead. But the inspectors reported that as of the end of 1998 Saddam possessed major quantities of WMDs across a range of categories, and particularly in chemical and biological weapons and the means of delivering them by missiles. All the intelligence services of the world agreed on this.
From that time until late last year, Saddam was left undisturbed to do what he wished with this arsenal of weapons. The international system had given up its ability to monitor and deal with this threat. All through the years between 1998 and 2002 Saddam continued to act and speak and to rule Iraq as a rogue state.
President Bush made it clear by 2002, and against the background of 9/11, that Saddam must be brought into compliance. It was obvious that the world could not leave this situation as it was. The U.S. made the decision to continue to work within the scope of the Security Council resolutions--a long line of them--to deal with Saddam. After an extended and excruciating diplomatic effort, the Security Council late in 2002 passed Resolution 1441, which gave Saddam one final chance to comply or face military force. When on December 8, 2002, Iraq produced its required report, it was clear that Saddam was continuing to play games and to reject his obligations under international law. His report, thousands of pages long, did not in any way account for the remaining weapons of mass destruction that the U.N. inspectors had reported to be in existence as of the end of 1998. That assessment was widely agreed upon.
That should have been that. But the debate at the U.N. went on--and on. And as it went on it deteriorated. Instead of the focus being kept on Iraq and Saddam, France induced others to regard the problem as one of restraining the U.S.--a position that seemed to emerge from France's aspirations for greater influence in Europe and elsewhere. By March of 2003 it was clear that French diplomacy had resulted in splitting NATO, the European Union, and the Security Council . . . and probably convincing Saddam that he would not face the use of force. The French position, in effect, was to say that Saddam had begun to show signs of cooperation with the U.N. resolutions because more than 200,000 American troops were poised on Iraq's borders ready to strike him; so the U.S. should just keep its troops poised there for an indeterminate time to come, until presumably France would instruct us that we could either withdraw or go into action. This of course was impossible militarily, politically, and financially.
Where do we stand now? These key points need to be understood:
? There has never been a clearer case of a rogue state using its privileges of statehood to advance its dictator's interests in ways that defy and endanger the international state system.
? The international legal case against Saddam--17 resolutions--was unprecedented.
? The intelligence services of all involved nations and the U.N. inspectors over more than a decade all agreed that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to international peace and security.
? Saddam had four undisturbed years to augment, conceal, disperse, or otherwise deal with his arsenal.
? He used every means to avoid cooperating or explaining what he has done with them. This refusal in itself was, under the U.N. resolutions, adequate grounds for resuming the military operation against him that had been put in abeyance in 1991 pending his compliance.
? President Bush, in ordering U.S. forces into action, stated that we were doing so under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 678 and 687, the original bases for military action against Saddam Hussein in 1991. Those who criticize the U.S. for unilateralism should recognize that no nation in the history of the United Nations has ever engaged in such a sustained and committed multilateral diplomatic effort to adhere to the principles of international law and international organization within the international system. In the end, it was the U.S. that upheld and acted in accordance with the U.N. resolutions on Iraq, not those on the Security Council who tried to stop us.
The question of weapons of mass destruction is just that: a question that remains to be answered, a mystery that must be solved. Just as we also must solve the mystery of how Libya and Iran developed menacing nuclear capability without detection, of how we were caught unaware of a large and flourishing black market in nuclear material--and of how we discovered these developments before they got completely out of hand and have put in place promising corrective processes. The question of Iraq's presumed stockpile of weapons will be answered, but that answer, however it comes out, will not affect the fully justifiable and necessary action that the coalition has undertaken to bring an end to Saddam Hussein's rule over Iraq. As Dr. David Kay put it in a Feb. 1 interview with Chris Wallace, "We know there were terrorist groups in state still seeking WMD capability. Iraq, although I found no weapons, had tremendous capabilities in this area. A marketplace phenomena was about to occur, if it did not occur; sellers meeting buyers. And I think that would have been very dangerous if the war had not intervened."
When asked by Mr. Wallace what the sellers could have sold if they didn't have actual weapons, Mr. Kay said: "The knowledge of how to make them, the knowledge of how to make small amounts, which is, after all, mostly what terrorists want. They don't want battlefield amounts of weapons. No, Iraq remained a very dangerous place in terms of WMD capabilities, even though we found no large stockpiles of weapons."
Above all, and in the long run, the most important aspect of the Iraq war will be what it means for the integrity of the international system and for the effort to deal effectively with terrorism. The stakes are huge and the terrorists know that as well as we do. That is the reason for their tactic of violence in Iraq. And that is why, for us and for our allies, failure is not an option. The message is that the U.S. and others in the world who recognize the need to sustain our international system will no longer quietly acquiesce in the take-over of states by lawless dictators who then carry on their depredations--including the development of awesome weapons for threats, use, or sale--behind the shield of protection that statehood provides. If you are one of these criminals in charge of a state, you no longer should expect to be allowed to be inside the system at the same time that you are a deadly enemy of it.
Sept. 11 forced us to comprehend the extent and danger of the challenge. We began to act before our enemy was able to extend and consolidate his network.
If we put this in terms of World War II, we are now sometime around 1937. In the 1930s, the world failed to do what it needed to do to head off a world war. Appeasement never works. Today we are in action. We must not flinch. With a powerful interplay of strength and diplomacy, we can win this war.
Mr. Shultz, a former secretary of state, is a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. This is adapted from his Kissinger Lecture, given recently at the Library of Congress.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: March 28, 2004, 10:02:22 AM
Court Opens Door To Searches Without Warrants
POSTED: 3:55 pm CST March 26, 2004
UPDATED: 4:36 pm CST March 26, 2004
NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.
Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.
The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."
The ruiling stems from a lawsuit filed in Denham Springs in 2000.
New Orleans Police Department spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo said the new power will go into effect immediately and won't be abused.
"We have to have a legitimate problem to be there in the first place, and if we don't, we can't conduct the search," Defillo said.
But former U.S. Attorney Julian Murray has big problems with the ruling.
"I think it goes way too far," Murray said, noting that the searches can be performed if an officer fears for his safety -- a subjective condition.
Defillo said he doesn't envision any problems in New Orleans, but if there are, they will be handled.
"There are checks and balances to make sure the criminal justce system works in an effective manor," Defillo said.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: March 25, 2004, 06:52:38 AM
For More Information, Contact:
Anne Robertson(602) 664-1218
VPL LAUNCHES CANINE PHEROMONE IN A SPRAY:
Portable D.A.P.? Now Available to Ease Travel Stress and More
Portable D.A.P.? Now Available to Ease Travel Stress and More
PHOENIX, Ariz. ? (Jan. 12, 2004) Veterinary Products Laboratories (VPL) will introduce the newest addition to its revolutionary canine behavior modification line, D.A.P.? (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) Spray at the North American Veterinary Conference January 17 - 21 in Orlando. VPL debuted its D.A.P.? diffuser and Feliway? cat pheromone spray and diffuser last year.
Owners seeking ways to calm their dogs during travel can look to this spray version of the anti-anxiety pheromone. Now, D.A.P. can be sprayed in the car, in the carrier, in the crate, on bedding and in kennels, or even on a bandana adorning the dog?s neck.
?Now there?s a pheromone for every occasion,? said Audra Boyd, marketing manager for VPL?s pheromone products. ?Dog owners who dread the trip to the vet because their pets become agitated, or who wonder whether their animal will stay calm during visits to friends and relatives, now have a spray that can come along for the ride. And today, with so many pet-friendly hotels and resorts offering options for travelers, more people are opting to bring their dogs along on vacation. The spray version of D.A.P. provides a versatile solution for pet owners.?
The pheromone therapy reduces or stops symptoms of stress that include: barking, house soiling, whining, whimpering, and chewing. It also helps comfort dogs that are newly adopted, moving to new homes, adjusting to new pets, visitors and environments, or those frightened of thunderstorms and fireworks.
Veterinarian-developed D.A.P is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the natural appeasing pheromone released by the lactating female to calm and reassure her puppies. D.A.P. has the same effect on adult dogs, providing a means for managing canine anxiety, fear, stress or phobias. Owners should spray D.A.P at least 20 minutes prior to loading the dog into the car or crate. Once owners arrive at their destination, they should spray D.A.P. twice a day in the area occupied by their pet. In addition to the spray, the D.A.P. diffuser plugs into an electrical outlet, delivering the pheromones 24 hours a day for approximately 30 days.
For more information about Veterinary Products Laboratories - Innovative Products in Veterinary Medicine?, call toll free at (888) 241-9545 or direct at (602) 207-2158 or go to vpl.com on the Internet.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: March 24, 2004, 06:07:11 AM
Somewhere along the way, the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court have misinterpreted the U. S. Constitution. How could fifty States be wrong?
THIS IS VERY INTERESTING! Be sure to read the last two paragraphs.
America's founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions:
Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ...
Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ....
Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...
Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .....
Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.
Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy ...
Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences ...
Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty establish this Constitution...
Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance .. establish this Constitution.
Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings ...
Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government.
Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings . establish this
Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges . establish this Constitution.
Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...
Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine .. acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... and imploring His aid and direction.
Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God or our civil and religious liberty...
Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... in the course of His Providence, an opportunity ..and devoutly imploring His direction ..
Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom ... establish this Constitution.
Minnesota 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings.
Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness ... establish this Constitution .
Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty. establish this Constitution ...
Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution ..
Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution...
New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own
New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our
New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty .
New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for
our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those ...
North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ....
Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this ..
Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..
Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly
invoking His guidance.
Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of he State of South Carolina, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ... establish this
Tennessee 1796, Art. XI. III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution ....
Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man...
Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI ... Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator ... can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity
towards each other ..
Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful! to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution .....
West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia .. reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God...
Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility ..
Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution...
After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control Federal Courts are wrong!
"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 24, 2004, 05:35:34 AM
Philippines: ID Cards For Muslims
March 23, 2004 2003 GMT
The Philippine government is supporting 30 leaders of Muslim communities in Manila who volunteered to distribute identification cards in Muslim areas of the city, the Philippine Inquirer News Service reported March 23. Of the city's 12 million people, nearly 800,000 are Muslim, most living in poor and crowded neighborhoods that draw criminals and militants fleeing fighting in the southern islands. In recent years, the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Islamist groups have targeted Manila. The proposed ID card system would reportedly be modeled on an ID card system already in place at Manila's Golden Mosque -- the largest mosque in the city -- which issues cards to residents and visitors in order to screen for potential troublemakers. The new ID system is expected to be implemented by the end of March.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in Mexico City
on: March 16, 2004, 12:40:57 PM
What a great idea! Years ago (1974? Ohmygod its been 30 years!) starting in Philadelphia my friend Bill and I wandered down to Mexico in his van. As a C- high school Spanish student, I was the "interpreter" of the expedition and 5 minutes after we crossed into Mexico from Laredo Bill made an illegal turn and the police stopped us. Uh oh. A couple of minutes later I had paid my first bribe (?No podemso pagar la propina
aqui?) and my fascination with Spanish and Mexico was born.
We continued on down to Cuernavaca (see, there was a point to the story) which is about an hour past Mexico City (a.k.a. "el DF/Distrito Federal") where we enrolled in one of the local language schools wherein pretty Mexican girls taught classes of 4 or less in the morning and in the afternoon we would go out and practice on the natives. What great fun!
I imagine Cuernavaca has grown in the 30 years since then, but it was a very pleasant small city at an altitude that gave it a very agreeable climate year round. About 4 hours futher south down a very winding road is Acapulco.
The DF, and DBMA Apprentice Mauricio of "Sistemas Integrados de Combate" is about an hour north of Cuernavaca. I was just with Mauricio for the second time a couple of weeks ago. He is doing good work getting DBMA off the ground in the DF and is working on developing a sparring/fighting group. I think you would add to your good times by checking him out.
Kalani es miembro del grupo de Dogzilla en Hawaii, buen peleador y amigo nuestro.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 15, 2004, 07:33:05 PM
Abu Sayyaf: How Fading Militant Groups Fight To Stay Alive
March 15, 2004 1502 GMT
Abu Sayyaf militants claimed responsibility for a fatal ferry attack Feb. 26. The failing militant Islamist group appears to be taking desperate measures to restore its image as a formidable adversary. The organization is dying: Its leaders are taken out one by one, leaving the group's continued existence and strength in question. The remaining members want to rally support -- and claiming an attack could attract recruits and financial sponsorship from other militant organizations. Abu Sayyaf's pattern of behavior can be seen as a case study of how other militant organizations might react over time as their leaders are removed.
Abu Sayyaf militants claimed responsibility for a fatal Philippine ferry attack Feb. 26, but the Philippine government disputes the claim. Whether Abu Sayyaf bombed the ferry -- or simply claimed to be behind the explosion -- the much-diminished militant group appears to be taking desperate measures to restore its image as a formidable adversary.
Recent interrogation of captured Abu Sayyaf leader Galib Andang, also known as "Commander Robot," revealed splintering within the group caused by power struggles between the leaders of various factions. Andang also mentioned an exchange between several of the Islamist group's leaders and foreigners offering them training in "demolition tactics." If Andang's statements are true, they confirm prior statements by Stratfor and the Philippine government that Abu Sayyaf is disintegrating, but trying to revitalize itself by carrying out attacks -- or claiming attacks. The group might serve as a model for what could happen to other militant organizations as they begin to deteriorate when their upper echelons are crippled or eradicated.
Abu Sayyaf has been in steady decline almost from its inception in the early 1990s, when the group was formed by members who split from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) -- then involved in peace negotiations. The group was led by Abdurajak Janjalani, the first of many Abu Sayyaf chiefs. The group sought to establish an Islamic state in the southern region of the Philippines and employed tactics that included bombings, assassinations and extortion. The group's primary funding source was sympathizers. Abu Sayyaf has claimed affiliation with other groups such as al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, which might have provided financial support. It employed kidnap-for-ransom tactics to raise more money as well, but the profitability of such abductions lured some members away from the original ideological goal of establishing an Islamic regime.
Abu Sayyaf has suffered a series of setbacks as its numerous leaders have been killed or captured in the past several years. Janjalani was killed in December 1998 in a fight with Philippine police. To prove the group was still a powerful force after the loss of its leader, members carried out an attack less than a month later, throwing grenades into a crowd gathered at a shopping center, killing 10 and wounding 74. Janjalani's death, however, resulted in a division between the ideologically motivated and the monetarily motivated members of the group.
The group made another attempt to demonstrate its capabilities in April 2000 by taking 21 hostages from a scuba diving resort on Sipadan Island in Malaysia. The ensuing hostage negotiations further splintered the group: Some members wanted only ransom money; others believed the desire for cash contradicted Abu Sayyaf's Islamist ideology. The kidnapping also drew the attention of the Philippine government and eventually led to intervention by the U.S. military in an effort to eradicate Abu Sayyaf.
Attempts to rejuvenate the group have continued -- even as its leaders are on the run. Andang, who was captured in December 2003 in a government raid, provided details about splinter groups and the deterioration of Abu Sayyaf's leadership. He indicated that the Sulu-based segment of Abu Sayyaf is headed by Jumdail Gumbahali, or "Dr. Abu," and does not acknowledge any leadership by Khaddafi Janjalani, the brother of the organization's founding leader. Another division appeared between Janjalani and Hamsiraji Sali in a dispute over ransom money. In addition, military forces continue to kill and capture Abu Sayyaf members. Five militants were killed and several injured in a clash with soldiers on the island of Jolo on March 2. Andang said that only 300 members remain in the Sulu-based group. Other Abu Sayyaf members have fled with Janjalani out of fear of a U.S. offensive. Without clear leadership and mission, the shrinking organization appears to be in disarray.
The remaining members must develop a more unified and ideologically driven nucleus if they are going to regroup successfully. Abu Sayyaf must consider operations that offer a high return for a small investment, along with high-impact attack plans that can be carried out with few members. With the training in explosives and combat reported by Andang, such an attack could include a suicide bomber on a crowded ferry.
A spectacular attack -- or even claiming a spectacular attack -- would reaffirm the group's existence and indicate that they remain a force to be dealt with. Claiming responsibility for the February ferry attack is indicative of the group's attempt to portray itself as "not dead yet." Although the Philippine government originally downplayed the claim, such an attack is feasible. The alleged suicide bomber was listed on the passenger manifest.
Regardless, Abu Sayyaf has sent the message that it is alive and well to its enemies and potential friends. The March 5 arrest of an Abu Sayyaf member in the northern Philippines could give further credence to the group's efforts to resurface. In a search of the suspect's van, police found more than 20 rifle grenades, a number of firearms, mine parts and a couple of pounds of C4 explosive.
Because of Abu Sayyaf's ties to al Qaeda, the ferry attack claim might advertise to potential sponsors that the group is worth a financial investment in order to achieve the jihadist goals of Islamist extremist groups. Money trickling in to Abu Sayyaf could help finance further operations, perhaps even in tandem with other organizations. This also could engender further cooperative training operations.
Abu Sayyaf wants to attract new recruits to boost its numbers and bring in younger members. Also it might be able to draw on dissidents from the MILF, which is negotiating with the government; Abu Sayyaf splintered off during similar talks with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Abu Sayyaf is under pressure to prove it is not extinct. Claiming responsibility for events that could be perceived as attacks and structuring attacks for greater impact with fewer resources are the only ways to prove the group is still breathing. Abu Sayyaf's attempts at self-resuscitation could provide a case study for similar militant organizations -- such as al Qaeda -- that likely will follow as leaders are captured or killed, leaving the groups without direction.
Al Qaeda is under similar pressure to show it is still alive and well, especially in light of recent statements by the Bush administration that the capture of Osama bin Laden might be close at hand. Al Qaeda's patterns of attack have been to carry out significant strikes every few years with smaller attacks in the interim. Al Qaeda also might claim an attack that it did not perpetrate -- or one that was carried out by another group with only marginal al Qaeda affiliation. The recent claims of responsibility for the train bombings in Madrid by at least two Islamist militant groups reinforce this idea. Watching the slow deaths of groups like Abu Sayyaf might be the only way we will understand when other groups such as al Qaeda finally have been silenced for good -- and what we might expect from them as they fight to stay alive.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: March 15, 2004, 01:11:14 PM
Persevering After a Bloody Attack
An Orange woman, 91, lost her arms, but not her independent spirit, in a rampage by a family pit bull.
By Jean-Paul Renaud, Times Staff Writer
Her garden has wilted. The flowers Ruby Sharum tended so zealously outside her manila-colored stucco house in Orange have withered away.
And she will never again know the prick of a thorn or feel dirt through her fingers.
A month ago, Sharum, 91, was attacked by her great-grandson's pit bull while she put away groceries. She not only lost both arms, but also much of the independence that her friends and family say she has shown her entire life.
Sharum now lies in a hospital bed at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, flanked by carnations in florists' vases. The great-grandmother of 13 ? who until recently not only took care of her garden but still drove a car ? now needs help for the most basic activities: walking, eating, drinking.
"It's the most terrible thing that can ever happen to a person that has so much independence," said her son Ken Sharum, 71. "I can't imagine ever existing that way."
Still, friends and family say they are amazed at how much she has improved. Her doctors credit her strong religious faith for her ability to cope and move on.
"She's the model for all the rehab patients we have, with the will and the strength that she has," said Sharum's doctor, Michelle Thai.
Sharum said she has accepted her new disability and is eager to learn how to adapt.
"Whatever comes, I feel you have to make the best of it," she said. "I kind of look forward to the therapy because I know it's necessary to help me."
But the memories of that cold night Feb. 13 still haunt her, no matter how much she tries to hide it from her family and friends. Thai said Sharum suffers post-traumatic stress, experiencing flashbacks to the day the pit bull, Zion, lunged at her.
"If I could forget, I would be better off," she said, with only the smallest tremor in her voice. "All I remember is that we were putting away groceries. The next thing I knew, he was tearing into me."
The attack was witnessed by Sharum's granddaughter, who ran to neighbors to summon help. Eventually, family members and neighbors were able to pull the dog away, but by the time police arrived, Sharum was badly hurt.
Sharum was rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where her arms were amputated above the elbow. She remained there for three weeks before being transferred to St. Jude for rehabilitation. Pain medication kept her from understanding much of what had occurred, she said.
And when she regained consciousness and realized her injuries, "it was a terrible shock ? thinking that if I recover, what am I going to do without arms, hands," she said.
Her longtime friends say the stoic response is just like Sharum. They say she never indulges in self-pity and may be going through more pain than she will ever admit.
"Sometimes you visit people and they go on and on about their history, but with Ruby you don't know much," said June Watanabe, who has known Sharum through church for 14 years. "The quieter, the stronger. She'll sit there, grin and bear it."
And it is that reticence that kept friends and family from understanding the danger Sharum faced at home every day. She shared the house with her granddaughter. At times her great-grandson, who kept Zion and a Rottweiler at the address, also was there.
The week after the attack, Orange County Animal Care Services officials said it was not the first time Zion had caused trouble. Neighbors felt constantly threatened by the pit bull, and authorities said it had attacked other dogs in Sharum's house on several occasions. Zion was euthanized the day after the attack on Sharum.
Sharum doesn't acknowledge seeing any of that. Zion had "just been the perfect pet," she said. "We never thought that he'd wind up doing anything like that."
The Orange County district attorney's office has asked Orange police to investigate whether Sharum's great-grandson Ian Buckhard, who owned the dog, should be held criminally responsible. Buckhard could not be reached for comment.
Although Sharum doesn't blame anyone other than the dog for the attack, her son feels very differently.
"I was upset at the great-grandson for having the dogs," said Ken Sharum. He said the family holds Buckhard responsible.
"Maybe this is something I could've prevented, had I been more insistent," he said.
Doctors said they expect Sharum to recover. The family is already looking into getting her prosthetic arms. Doctors believe such devices will restore much of her beloved independence.
Sharum has agreed to move in with her son in southwest Riverside County and is already setting tasks for herself. "I think that carpet needs to be cleaned," she said.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Spain's terrorist attack
on: March 12, 2004, 09:51:27 PM
Madrid Bombing: Evidence Points Away From ETA
March 12, 2004 2106 GMT
Spanish explosives experts have found an unexploded bomb they say leads them to conclude the Basque separatist group ETA did not build the device. This makes it more likely that a militant Islamist group is behind the multiple, nearly simultaneous attacks in Madrid on March 11.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar continued to insist March 12 that ETA is to blame for the most devastating attacks in his country's history. However, Spanish explosives experts examined an unexploded bomb found inside a backpack late March 11 and concluded the device was not manufactured by ETA bombers.
Within hours of the attack, European and Russian diplomatic and security sources told Stratfor that Islamist militants were the likeliest suspects. Those suspicions now have hardened. A highly placed U.S. source told Stratfor on March 12 that U.S. intelligence believes the attacks were carried out either by groups associated with al Qaeda or by al Qaeda sympathizers. The source confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies are actively helping the Spanish government search for the guilty party.
The technical and design characteristics of the unexploded bomb significantly increase the likelihood that the attacks, which killed 199 and wounded nearly 1,500, are the work of al Qaeda or another militant group associated with Osama bin Laden's network. The unexploded bomb had a copper detonator; ETA habitually uses aluminum. The dynamite was not French-made Titadine, which ETA operatives frequently steal from French quarries; it likely was made in Spain by Explosivos Rio Tinto, Spanish government sources say.
Investigators are trying to determine whether the dynamite was stolen or an individual or company bought it legally. The unexploded dynamite has markers that will allow investigators to determine who manufactured it and the date it was made. Sales of explosives are tightly regulated in Spain, and the paper trail should help investigators more or less pinpoint where they came from and where they wound up. If the bombers are as sophisticated as Stratfor believes, however, Spanish investigators could identify the origin of the dynamite but still be unable to pin down the actual bombers.
If an al Qaeda cell or an associated outrider group attacked Madrid, it would have major implications for Western Europe. Al Qaeda and associated groups have struck targets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the United States. The Madrid attack would be the first strike inside the European Union. More attacks of this nature should be expected in other EU countries, especially Britain, France and Italy -- and possibly also in Germany.
Britain is replete with zealous young unemployed Muslims who have dropped out of school, and there might be some among them willing to launch attacks in retaliation for Prime Minister Tony Blair's support of the war on Iraq. There also are groups that are "cheerleaders" of sorts for jihadists. These represent a potential pool of recruits. Some Muslims also could harbor longstanding grievances against Britain for perceived wrongs committed against Islam dating from the British colonial era.
France has a large Muslim population, and many are enraged by the government's ban on religious symbols that includes headscarves. Although the Chirac government bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, some militant Islamist groups could choose more forceful ways to express their repudiation of a ban many see as an insult to Muslim women and an offense to Islam.
The Italian people overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq war, more so perhaps than any EU population save that of Spain, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's support for the Bush administration also makes Italy a legitimate target. Germany also could be targeted for prosecuting Muslims charged with crimes related to Sept. 11.
The choice to target trains has horrifying implications for EU countries in which everyone travels by rail. Suicide bombers have attacked U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a nightclub packed with foreigners in Bali and a U.S. warship anchored in a Yemen port. The bombers in Madrid chose a congested public transport system, and no suicide bombers appear to have been involved -- although this will not be confirmed beyond a doubt until forensics experts complete the autopsies, which could take weeks or even months.
Europe has a wealth of targets like Madrid's rail system; it is one of the world's most densely populated regions. Besides urban passenger rail systems, future attacks in Europe could target football stadiums, pedestrian promenades like the area near the Spanish Steps in Rome, shopping malls and other venues that tend to be heavily congested but do not have the security found in airports and near government buildings. The implications are that federal and local governments will have to ratchet up security significantly in the future, which will hinder broader efforts to contain the fiscal red ink in countries like France.
The Madrid bombers appear to be a highly autonomous group, which means they will be very difficult to locate. With U.S. and other anti-terrorism forces aggressively pursuing al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, it is not likely the group had any contact with the chieftains. The bombers might have known they had bin Laden's blessing, but they most likely planned and executed the Madrid attacks autonomously without receiving orders from the top. If we are correct in this assumption, the group that carried out the Madrid attacks has already dispersed and gone deep undercover. It is even possible they have left Spain and are hiding elsewhere in the European Union.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: March 12, 2004, 12:19:00 PM
* (no subject) wontondon 3/12/04 09:52
Thicker than Oil
Putting to rest the Left's Iraq deceptions.
By Victor David Hanson
It has now been almost a year since the liberation of Iraq, the fury
of the antiwar rallies, and the publicized hectoring of Michael Moore,
Noam Chomsky, Sean Penn, and other assorted conspiracy freaks ? and we have enough evidence to lay some of their myths to rest.
I just filled up and paid $2.19 a gallon. How can that be, when the
war was undertaken to help us get our hands on "cheap" oil? Where is
the mythical Afghan pipeline when we need it?
"No Blood for Oil" (never mind the people who drove upscale
gas-guzzlers to the rallies at which they chanted such slogans) was
supposed to respond to one of two possibilities: American oil
companies were either simply going to steal the Iraqi fields, or
indirectly prime the pumps to such an extent that the world would be
awash with petroleum and the price for profligate Western consumers
Neither came true. Iraqis themselves control their natural resources;
the price of gasoline, despite heroic restoration of much of Iraqi
prewar petroleum output, is at an all-time high.
So did Shell and Exxon want too much ? or too little ? pumping? Was
the Iraq conspiracy a messy crisis to disrupt production as an excuse
to jack up prices, or a surgical strike to garner Third-World
resources on the cheap to power wasteful American SUVs?
The truth is, as usual, far more simple. The United States never did
intend to steal or manipulate the oil market ? not necessarily because
we are always above such chicanery, but because it is nearly
impossible in a fungible market under constant global scrutiny, and
suicidal in the Byzantine politics of the Middle East.
Instead we have pledged $87 billion to secure and rebuild Iraq ? one
of the largest direct-aid programs since the Marshall Plan. Tens of
thousands of brave Americans risked their lives ? and hundreds have
died ? to end the genocide of Saddam Hussein, alter the pathological
calculus of the Middle East, and cease the three-decade support of
terrorism by Arab dictators.
The only credible critics on the left are those who make the argument
that Iraq never made any sense economically and "took away" money from health care, education, aid to poor, transportation, etc. (the litany
is familiar) at home ? although even this is a hard argument when
domestic spending has increased 8 percent per annum under the Bush
A year ago, almost no one claimed that we were far too na?ve,
idealistic, or stupid. No, Americans were forever conniving and
larcenous. Remember the invective about perpetual American
intervention? Tens of thousands of our troops poured into the Middle
East after the "excuse" of September 11. Right-wingers alleged that we
had turned from republic to a garrison empire in a new global ego
trip. Leftists assured us that we were greedy colonialists replicating
the British raj ? perhaps keen to corner the Iraqi date market or
exploit at slave wages the skilled workforce around Tikrit. Arab
fundamentalists prattled on about the American Crusaders and Zionists
out to steal holy lands and desecrate shrines ? no doubt convinced
that Billy Grahamites, if not blowing up ancient Buddhist statuary,
would soon be attaching crosses to minarets.
Yet since the very day the war started, the reality has been just the
opposite ? a constant desire for the bare-minimum amount of troops
abroad in as brief a deployment as possible. More sober military
observers have always fathomed that the dangers of the American
campaign were never that we were overrunning the Middle East in hope
of perennial occupation. Instead we ? as amateur interventionists who
have always had a very short attention span ? had too few troops to
fight the war, and fewer still to rebuild the country.
Even the chief, albeit private, worry of most Iraqis was mostly that
there were not enough American infidels to provide them security and
that we would leave too soon ? hardly the response one would expect to
old-style, foreign, pith-helmeted imperialists who had stayed too long.
Then there was the third-world exploited-peoples angle. At least, I
think that was one of the favorite themes of the peace rallies where
various groups ? from supporters of cop-killers to Puerto Rican
independence zealots ? spouted off about their shared racism,
victimhood, and oppression.
Surely one of the most astounding intellectual trends in our lifetime
has been this transmogrification of religious fascists and Middle East
autocrats ? the minions of Saddam, Arafat, Khaddafi, or the Iranian
mullahs ? into some sort of exploited peoples worthy of Western
forbearance for quite horrific dictatorships, theocracies, and all the
assorted pathologies that we have to come to associate with the modern
Middle East. The way things were going, belonging to Hamas or
Hezbollah soon might have earned one affirmative-action status on an
Let's examine, instead, what really happened. While fellow Arabs did
little or nothing to free the Iraqi people ? but apparently both
cheated on and profited from the U.N. embargoes ? Americans set up a
consensual government. And for our part, American casualties so far
mirror roughly the racial make-up of our general population. So much
for the old Vietnam-era myth that people of color always die in
disproportionate numbers fighting rich people's wars. Our three top
officers most visible the last year in Iraq ? Generals Abizaid,
Sanchez, and Brooks ? are an Arab American, Mexican American, and
African American. The national-security adviser and the secretary of
state are minorities as well. And so on. This was a war about values ?
not race, class, or ethnicity.
Another myth was that of the "noble European" ? promulgated here at
home by American shysters like Michael Moore, who cashed in overseas,
fawning over the likes of Jacques Chirac (the guy who sealed the
French nuclear-reactor deal with Saddam) and Dominique de Villepin
(who wept over the Christ-like Napoleon's demise at Waterloo).
The truth again is very different; and John Kerry should be wary about
bragging that unnamed European leaders ? if true ? tell him that they
favor his election. Each week we learn how European companies were
knee-deep in the foul stream of forbidden supplies that flowed to
Saddam in violation of their hallowed U.N. statutes. And the most
recent European tired chorus ? "We support the needed Afghan
multilateral operation, but not the Iraq aggression" ? is proven false
by the fact that there are about ten times more American troops right
now in Europe than there are NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.
Sorry, a few thousand troops in Afghanistan doesn't cut it from a
continent with a larger population than that of the United States,
which in turn does the dirty work to ensure Europe's security.
Unilateral, multilateral, U.N., no U.N., Balkans, Iraq ? it doesn't
matter: The Europeans are never going to risk lives and treasure for
much of anything. The predictable NATO rule: The stationing of troops
is to be determined in direct proportion to the absence of both need
But what about WMDs? Wasn't that a Bush fable? Forget that most ? from
Bill Clinton to John Kerry ? believed that they were there, and that
all the evidence about Saddam's arsenal is not yet in.
The truth is that almost everybody in the world believes that the war
had something to do with WMDs and nothing to do with Halliburton ?
except Western leftists. By going into Iraq we probably will find more
dangerous weapons in Libya than were stockpiled in Baghdad. The
president argued that we must depose Saddam Hussein to prevent scary
weapons from being used by rogue regimes. He did so, and suddenly Dr.
Khan, Khaddafi, and even a few mullahs seemed to wish to come clean.
The danger of promulgating the old mistruths about sacrificing blood
for oil, reviving colonialism, and suggesting the operation in Iraq
has led to disaster are manifold. First, ever-so-steadily, such
invective wears away support for an action that, by any historical
yardstick, was as successful as it was noble. The only peril to the
United States in Iraq would be a unilateral withdrawal before
stability and constitutional government are achieved. And the only
chance of that disaster happening would arise from our own continual
harping that wears down the will of the American people ? and those
asked to fight for us in the field.
The other worry is that there were, in fact, real concerns about the
entire campaign that have scarcely been addressed. While the media
hold conferences on university campuses about the morality of using
embedded reporters, they have simply refused to discuss the real
ethical crisis of the reporting of the war: that dozens of Western
journalists sent censored news accounts from Baghdad in the months
preceding the conflict and in fact during the actual fighting.
Unbeknownst to us, their dispatches always were monitored carefully by
"minders" and transmitted only through pay-offs and blackmail. None of
this was known at the time ? leading to the absurdity that on the day
Baghdad fell journalists suddenly came clean over uncensored mikes, as
if to say, "Oh, by the way, everything I sent out to you the last two
months was sort of censored by the Iraqi Ministry of Information."
So here we are a year later. We fuss about the WMD "myth"; enemies
scramble over its reality. We talk of our theft of third-world
resources ? and pay more for gas than ever before while the price of
Iraq's national treasure soars. We worry that we are too involved
abroad; those in Europe, Afghanistan, and Iraq claim there are not
enough of us over there. And we scream at each other that we are not
liked, even as those overseas express new respect for us.
No wonder, when asked for specific follow-ups about his general
criticisms of the Iraqi war in a recent Time magazine interview, a
resolute Kerry variously prevaricated, "I didn't say that," "I can't
tell you," "It's possible," "It's not a certainty," "If I had known,"
"No, I think you can still ? wait, no. You can't ? that's not a fair
question and I'll tell you why," ? employing the entire idiom and
vocabulary of those who are angry about Bush's removal of Saddam, but
neither know quite why nor what they would do differently.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 12, 2004, 09:47:32 AM
PHILIPPINES - COMMUNIST REBELS KILLED (MAR 12/DPA)
DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR -- Government troops killed three communist rebels in a clash in the southern Philippines, reports Deutsche
Presse-Agentur. The fighting began when soldiers encountered about 30 militants in the town of Alegria, located in Surigao del Norte province.
The rebels were killed in the ensuing gunfight, reportedly including the
death of a local commander.