DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Blade work and Stick work
on: August 23, 2005, 05:55:10 AM
Tail wags for your kind words.
Sverre is a member of our DBMA Association and has posted on our Members' Website about his training with you. It sounds like he is enjoying it very much and we look forward to him fighting at our "DB Gatherings of the Pack".
Concerning your questions about blade/stick and about training children, please allow me to take the latter first.
It is a question I get from time to time and the answer is that I don't really have one. DBMA instructors so inclined certainly have my blessing to do so, but personally I do not find myself to be a good teacher for children.
Concerning the transferability of stick training to blade, it is a good question. There ARE important differences between the two. All other things being equal (and they so very rarely are
) I think if you put a bolo/pinuti/etc in the hand of someone trained by us with experience in our fighting that he will be someone to be reckoned with but there may well be openings in his movement that a sword trained man with adrenal training could exploit. (Of course, there would need to be one helluva good reason to be in such a fight!
What is your thinking on this question?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security
on: August 22, 2005, 04:59:32 PM
Two articles in this post:
Border Activist's Ranch Turned Over to Migrants; [HOME EDITION]
Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Aug 20, 2005. pg. A.25
Full Text (466 words)
(Copyright (c) 2005 Los Angeles Times)
An Arizona ranch once owned by a member of an armed group accused by civil rights organizations of terrorizing illegal immigrants has been turned over to two of the very people the owner had tried keep out of the country.
The land transfer was done to satisfy a judgment against Casey Nethercott, a member of a self-styled border-watch group who is serving a five-year prison term for firearms possession.
Morris Dees Jr., chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represented the immigrants, said this week he hoped the ruling would be a cautionary tale to anyone considering hostile measures against border crossers.
"When we got into this case, ranchers all along the border were allowing these types to come on their property," Dees said. "Now, they're very leery of it, especially when they see someone losing their ranch because of it."
Nethercott was a member of the group Ranch Rescue, which works to protect private property along the southern U.S. border. He was accused of pistol-whipping Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales, 26, in March 2003 at a Hebbronville, Texas, ranch near the Mexico border.
A jury deadlocked on the assault charge but convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Mancia and another immigrant traveling with him from El Salvador, Fatima del Socorro Leiva Medina, filed a civil lawsuit last year saying they were harmed while being held by Ranch Rescue members.
Named in the suit were Nethercott; Jack Foote, the founder of Ranch Rescue; and the owners of the Hebbronville ranch, Joe and Betty Sutton. The Suttons settled for $100,000. Nethercott and Foote did not defend themselves, and a Texas judge issued default judgments in April of $850,000 against Nethercott and $500,000 against Foote.
Nethercott transferred ownership of his 70-acre Douglas ranch to his sister. But the sister gave up ownership to settle the judgment when challenged by the immigrants' lawyers.
The transfer of the ranch outraged border-watch groups.
"If the federal government was doing its job, ranchers would not be living in fear," said Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group that watches for illegal immigrant crossings and reports them to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Simcox said his group had a policy against touching immigrants and used video to document its patrols.
Messages left for Nethercott's family and his attorney were not returned Friday.
Dees said his clients planned to eventually sell the property, which Nethercott bought for $120,000, but might allow humanitarian border groups offering aid to immigrants to use it for now.
Mancia and Leiva declined through Dees to speak to the media.
Mara Salvatrucha Gangs and U.S. Security
In a sweep known as Operation Community Shield, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies have arrested and deported about 500 foreign gang members in recent months, most of the deportees allegedly affiliated with the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gangs. The operation is a response to a nationwide rise in incidents of organized, often brutal, MS-13 violence in U.S. cities from Boston to Los Angeles -- and concern that MS-13's growing smuggling network for guns, drugs and people could constitute a U.S. security threat. On a broader scale, authorities fear that MS-13 is spreading instability across Central America.
Though its members can be found across the United States -- the U.S. Justice Department estimates there are 8,000 to 10,000 MS-13 members in 31 states -- the gang itself is decentralized, with members of various MS-13 "cliques" operating regionally via fraternal and communal ties.
U.S. law enforcement is concerned, however, that MS-13's evolution from decentralized cliques to a more formal command-and-control structure could hasten the shift from its focus on marginally profitable small-scale crime -- such as neighborhood drug dealing and armed robbery -- to high-profit criminal enterprises such as overseeing major drug-smuggling or arms-trafficking networks. Shifts of this nature traditionally lead to a rise in high-profile violence such as assassinations, kidnappings and large-scale gang warfare as competing gangs battle for control of the businesses.
To date, law enforcement efforts to infiltrate the MS-13 organization have met with little success, mainly because MS-13 members are strongly tied through personal connections and shared experiences -- reflected in the complex, highly symbolic tattoos that cover members' bodies. As with other criminal organizations with a substantial immigrant composition, infiltrating the gangs requires successful operations abroad, a process that is always time-consuming and rarely completely effective. MS-13 prides itself on its particularly brutal punishments meted out to police informants.
The U.S. government, then, is relying on deportations to combat MS-13, because many suspected MS-13 members are in the United States illegally -- having taken advantage of the United States' porous southern border. Deportations, however, can be effective only when applied in conjunction with efforts to improve border security and increase coordination between U.S. and Central American security and intelligence services. Otherwise, nothing prevents the deportee from re-entering the United States. Furthermore, securing the border will not guarantee the decline of MS-13 in the United States because many MS-13 members are U.S.-born.
Although it is true that many of MS-13's current members are from abroad, to say that the problem was born in Central America is inaccurate. In fact, Mara Salvatrucha traces its roots to 1980s Los Angeles, and the gang-dominated Pico Union neighborhood. Hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans -- totaling one-fifth of El Salvador's population -- sought refuge in the United States during their country's civil war of the 1980s. Of the one million Salvadorans estimated to be living in the United States today, some 90 percent arrived after 1979. Those who settled in Los Angeles often found themselves hustled, extorted and abused by the city's myriad ethnic groups and their related gangs.
Some responded to this abuse by forming gangs of their own -- most notably MS-13 and the 18th Street gang (Calle 18). MS-13 then spread from the United States back to El Salvador -- and to other countries in Central America.
The U.S. deportations are damaging Central American stability -- as understaffed, under-funded and ultimately ineffective security and intelligence services attempt to battle the gangs. For example, simultaneous prison riots broke out across Guatemala on Aug. 15, pitting MS-13 members against their rival 18th Street gang. During the fighting, police lost control of several prisons as MS-13 members -- some of whom were armed with assault rifles and grenades -- attacked their 18th Street enemies. Security forces later regained control of the prison, but not until after 35 people had died. The level of coordination and the type of weapons used by the prisoners illustrate MS-13's disturbing capability in Central America. In El Salvador, meanwhile, the government has instituted la mano dura (the strong-hand) policy to deal with the gangs, but has been unable to render MS-13 inert.
Central American governments, facing the influx of deportees, have asked for U.S. support in creating a regional task force to counter the gangs' influence and ability to operate. Although the United States has been reluctant to heed the request, something along those lines will be needed if the United States is to effectively combat an increasingly centralized criminal network.
Combined with these problems are concerns that links could be forming between MS-13 and Islamist militants, particularly al Qaeda. Although these concerns have largely been raised by Central American leaders who need increased U.S. funding for security, a report surfaced in September 2004 that suspected al Qaeda member Adnan G. El Shukrijumah was spotted in Honduras meeting with MS-13 leaders.
In December 2004, alleged MS-13 member Frankie Sanchez-Solorzano was arrested along with Bangladeshi Fakhrul Islam and 11 other people after they were caught trying to enter the United States near Brownsville, Texas. Cases such as this increase calls for tighter border restrictions with Mexico, but provide little support for allegations that al Qaeda, as some have speculated, is attempting to infiltrate the United States using MS-13 smuggling networks. Although too many of these allegations are based on rumor and hearsay, the border merits close vigilance. Trafficking networks, like all black-market activities, are viciously capitalistic -- meaning anyone, al Qaeda member or otherwise, could make use of the service.
It remains to be seen whether U.S. law enforcement can bring MS-13 under control before the gangs become a national security concern. Should history repeat itself, and MS-13 go the way of criminal enterprises such as La Cosa Nostra, the Hell's Angels or the Colombian cartels, then Mara Salvatrucha will become a household name in the not-too-distant future.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New to Weapons/Stick training...quick questions?
on: August 22, 2005, 04:54:32 PM
1) Absolutely! I will go further and say that this training will help your MT both physically and mentally.
2) Yes. Do note that the drills are, in one sense, quite simple-- which means that creating competent training partners may be easier than you realize. What I am saying is that uneven skill levels can work together.
3) My personal approach is that I don't tape until the sticks begin to fray-- then I use duct tape. It produces less drag than most other tapes and has a high durability factor.
Anyway, delighted to have you aboard.
The Adventure continues!
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: August 22, 2005, 09:11:31 AM
MORNING INTELLIGENCE BRIEF08.22.2005www.stratfor.com
Geopolitical Diary: Monday, Aug. 22, 2005
Monday, Aug. 22, is the current deadline for the Iraqis to reach agreement on a new constitution. As one would expect with the deadline looming, it appears that the likelihood of any agreement is declining. And as in any good negotiation, the final gut-check is under way: Each side is trying to determine whether it has miscalculated and left something on the table that it could have taken. The problem with this final phase is, of course, that everyone starts reading the other side the wrong way and the entire negotiation runs the risk of collapsing -- or, in this case, getting extended yet again.
The latest issue involves the Kurds and the Shia. The formal issue was the extent to which Sharia, or Islamic law, would serve as the fundamental law of Iraq -- the basis from which all other law would derive. The Sunnis and Shia are in agreement here, but the Sharia issue intersects with one of the Kurds' core interests: federalism. If Iraq were to have a central, transcendent principle of any kind, federal autonomy would be undermined. The Kurds have one interest in this negotiation -- maximizing the amount of autonomy they will have. If Baghdad determines the basis of law, then it follows that there must be legal authorities in Baghdad to define, at least at some level, what the law is. The Shia have another interest: maximizing Shiite control over the state apparatus. They want Islamic law but also wiggle room on how much and how to apply it.
The signs at the moment are that the Kurds and Shia will work out their problems. The Kurds will accept the primacy of Sharia in principle -- and in practice, the Shia will limit the scope of its application to certain areas, such as family law, and will not create a central, Shiite bureaucracy for administering it. There will be, if you will, a federally administered Sharia. This has been the focus of negotiations for the past few days.
It is not, however, the final phase of the negotiations. Now the Sunnis have to buy into this. In a purely technical sense, the Shia and Kurds have the ability to jam through the new constitution without Sunni support, at least at this stage. However, ultimately, the Sunnis can block the constitution under the current rules -- and, more important, excluding the Sunnis will solve nothing. There has always been Shiite-Kurdish cooperation. The entire problem is finding a mode for including the Sunnis.
The United States is particularly urgent on this score and has, in effect, become the advocate for the Sunnis. The U.S. hope is that a commitment by the Sunni leadership to the constitution will rein in the nationalist Sunni guerrillas and undermine the jihadists. If the Sunnis are left out in the cold, the entire exercise becomes pointless. That is why the U.S. ambassador to Iraq said this weekend that the United States accepts the idea of an Islamic state in Iraq. Washington urgently wants to give the Shia what they want on this issue -- or as much as the Kurds will permit -- so that the Shia will move on to a final deal with the Sunnis.
In effect, the United States punted one of the ideological aims of the war in favor of U.S. national interest -- keeping U.S. troops in a relatively peaceful Iraq. Hence the recent announcement by the U.S. Army that it was prepared to stay in Iraq for up to nine years.
And now we come down to the moment of truth: Do the Shia want a united Iraq, or do they prefer to have control over the Shiite regions and the United States bogged down in a guerrilla war in the Sunni regions? Are the Sunnis really prepared to endure attacks by jihadists -- targeting negotiators personally -- in exchange for a role in an Iraqi government?
We think the answer to both of these questions is "yes." We think there may be one more extension on the deadline to achieve it -- but the entire process is really out of time, and we are at the point where it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks. The Shia and Sunnis must now make their decisions, and the United States must now decide how to live -- or not -- with those decisions. It's down to the short hairs. served.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife fight (Acctual/ Real Experiences) Please post!
on: August 18, 2005, 08:04:46 AM
MS-13 Member Found Guilty in Fairfax Machete Attack
Rival Lost 3 Fingers in Incident At Movie Theater in January
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 18, 2005; B01
A Fairfax County jury convicted a 19-year-old member of the Salvadoran gang Mara Salvatrucha yesterday in a January machete attack on a rival gang member that severed three fingers on the rival's left hand.
The jury then sentenced Wilber A. Rivera of Falls Church to 23 years in prison for aggravated malicious wounding and five years for participating in a gang. On Dec. 9, Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jonathan C. Thacher will decide whether the two terms should run consecutively or concurrently. Under state law, Thacher has the option of reducing the jury's sentence, but he cannot increase it.
The machete attack outside a Merrifield movie theater was the second involving the gang, also known as MS-13, in an eight-month span in Fairfax and heightened fears of escalating gang violence in the region. In the first attack, in May 2004, a member of the South Side Locos gang lost four fingers. Two MS-13 members were sentenced to 15 years in prison, and a third received a 12-year term.
The victim in the January case, Shawn D. Schroeder, 25, has acknowledged that he is a longtime member of the Rollin' 60s, a clique of the Los Angeles-based Crips gang, and prosecutors acknowledged that he was not the most sympathetic victim. "You don't have to condone Mr. Schroeder's lifestyle," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John R. Murphy told the jury in his closing argument. "But we don't let people hack each other to pieces on street corners. And we don't say it's okay because it's another gang member getting hacked."
Schroeder testified that he and his girlfriend were leaving the Lee Highway Multiplex Cinemas with their baby the night of Jan. 3 and were heading toward Gallows Road when a Nissan Maxima pulled up. According to Schroeder, a man stuck his head out the window and said, "Don't you remember me from Tysons Corner mall?" Schroeder said he recognized the man from encounters at the mall.
The four men inside the car jumped out and chased Schroeder, who ran back toward the theaters while his girlfriend took their child to safety. Another man, Moris A. Villalobos, testified that he was part of the group that pursued and attacked Schroeder and that Rivera was the first one out of the car.
Schroeder said that one person stabbed him and that Rivera was wielding a machete and hit him in the head. Schroeder stood in front of the jury box to show jurors the long scars across his head and his mutilated left hand.
He said he eventually lay down in front of the theaters and tried to play dead with his left hand over his forehead. He said it was then that Rivera brought the machete down and slashed three fingers off.
Villalobos, who pleaded guilty to the attack last week, testified that Rivera did not have the machete but a much smaller knife. He said another MS-13 member, whom he knew only as "Little Scorpion," wielded the machete. That person has not been arrested.
Murphy told the jurors they did not have to determine who swung which weapon, only whether Rivera participated in the attack.
Rivera did not take the stand in his defense. His attorney, David Bernhard, said Rivera moved to the United States three years ago from El Salvador to escape gang violence there. It was in El Salvador that Rivera had "MS" tattooed on his chest, and he said Rivera had become a law-abiding resident who worked as a busboy at Rainforest Cafe at Tysons Corner Center. Bernhard said he believed Rivera was in the country legally.
Rivera's girlfriend and mother provided his alibi: Both testified that Rivera was doing his laundry at his girlfriend's house on the night of the incident. The girlfriend, Sandra Reyes, said it was not unusual for her to do laundry about 10 or 11 p.m. She said she recently gave birth to a child fathered by Rivera.
Rivera's mother, Maria Rivera, testified that she called her son at Reyes's apartment in Woodbridge at 10:45 p.m. on Jan. 3. The attack happened shortly before midnight.
Murphy noted that Reyes had changed her story -- and Rivera's alibi. When she was interviewed by Detective Chris Flanagan in February, she told him that she and Rivera spent that night at his mother's house watching videos between 7 and 9 p.m., but she would not discuss his whereabouts late that night, Flanagan said.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before convicting Rivera and then spent about 90 minutes devising the sentence. The penalty range was 20 years to life on the aggravated malicious wounding charge and up to 10 years on the gang participation charge.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters
on: August 17, 2005, 05:02:13 PM
Interesting Buz-- here's this:
The Gaza Withdrawal and Israel's Permanent Dilemma
By George Friedman
Israel has begun its withdrawal from Gaza. As with all other territorial withdrawals by Israel, such as that from the Sinai or from Lebanon, the decision is controversial within the Jewish state. It represents the second withdrawal from land occupied in the 1967 war, and the second from land that houses significant numbers of anti-Israeli fighters. Since these fighters will not be placated by the Israeli withdrawal -- given that there is no obvious agreement of land for an enforceable peace -- the decision by the Israelis to withdraw from Gaza would appear odd.
In order to understand what is driving Israeli policy, it is necessary to consider Israeli geopolitical reality in some detail.
Israel's founders, taken together, had four motives for founding the state.
1. To protect the Jews from a hostile world by creating a Jewish homeland.
2. To create a socialist (not communist) Jewish state.
3. To resurrect the Jewish nation in order to re-assert Jewish identity in history.
4. To create a nation based on Jewish religiosity and law rather than Jewish nationality alone.
The idea of safety, socialism, identity and religiosity overlapped to some extent and were mutually exclusive in other ways. But each of these tendencies became a fault line in Israeli life. Did Israel exist simply so that Jews would be safe -- was Israel simply another nation among many? Was Israel to be a socialist nation, as the Labor Party once envisioned? Was it to be a vehicle for resurrecting Jewish identity, as the Revisionists wanted? Was it to be a land governed by the Rabbinate? It could not be all of these things. Thus, these were ultimately contradictory visions tied together by a single certainty: none of these visions were possible without a Jewish state. All arguments in Israel devolve to these principles, but all share a common reality -- the need for the physical protection of Israel.
In order for there to be a Jewish state, it must be governed by Jews. If it is also to be a democratic state, as was envisioned by all but a few of the fourth (religiosity) strand of logic, then it must be a state that is demographically Jewish.
This poses the first geopolitical dilemma for Israel: Whatever the historical, moral or religious arguments, the fact was that at the beginning of the 20th century, the land identified as the Jewish homeland -- Palestine -- was inhabited overwhelmingly by Arabs. A Jewish and democratic state could be achieved only by a demographic transformation. Either more Jews would have to come to Palestine, or Arabs would have to leave, or a combination of the two would have to occur. The Holocaust caused Jews who otherwise would have stayed in Europe to come to Palestine. The subsequent creation of the state of Israel caused Arabs to leave, and Jews living in Arab countries to come to Israel.
However, this demographic shift was incomplete, leaving Israel with two strategic problems. First, a large number of Arabs, albeit a minority, continued to live in Israel. Second, the Arab states surrounding Israel -- which perceived the state as an alien entity thrust into their midst -- viewed themselves as being in a state of war with Israel. Ultimately, Israel's problem was that dealing with the external threat inevitably compounded the internal threat.
Israel's Strategic Disadvantage
Israel was at a tremendous strategic disadvantage. First, it was vastly outnumbered in the simplest sense: There were many more Arabs who regarded themselves as being in a state of war with Israel than there were Jews in Israel. Second, Israel had extremely long borders that were difficult to protect. Third, the Israelis lacked strategic depth. If all of their neighbors -- Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon -- were joined by the forces of more distant Arab and Islamic states, Israel would find it difficult to resist. And if all of these forces attacked simultaneously in a coordinated strike, Israel would find it impossible to resist.
Even if the Arabs did not carry out a brilliant stroke, cutting Israel in half on a Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line (a distance of perhaps 20 miles), Israel would still lose an extended war with the Arabs. If the Arabs could force a war of attrition on Israel, in which they could impose an attrition rate of perhaps 1 percent per day of forces on the forward edge of the battle area, Israel would not be able to hold for more than a few months at best. In the 20th century, an attrition rate of that level, in a battle space the size of Israel, would be modest. Israel's effective forces rarely numbered more than 250,000 men -- the other 250,000 were older reserves with inferior equipment. Extended attritional warfare was not an option for Israel.
Thus, in order for Israel to survive, three conditions were necessary:
1. The Arabs must never unite into a single, effective force.
2. Israel must choose the time, place and sequence of any war.
3. Israel must never face both a war and an internal uprising of Arabs simultaneously.
Israel's strategy was to use diplomacy to prevent the three main adversaries -- Egypt, Jordan and Syria -- from simultaneously choosing to launch a war. From its founding, Israel always maintained a policy of splitting the front-line states. This was not particularly difficult, given the deep animosities among the Arabs. For example, Israel always maintained a special relationship with Jordan, which had unsatisfactory relations with its own neighbors. Early on, Israel worked to serve as the guarantor of the Jordanian regime's survival. Later, after the Camp David Accords split Egypt off from the Arab coalition, Israel had neutralized two out of three of its potential adversaries. The dynamics of Arab geopolitics and the skill of Israeli diplomacy achieved an outcome that is rarely appreciated. From its founding, Israel managed to prevent simultaneous warfare with its neighbors except at a time and place of its own choosing. It had to maintain a military force capable of taking the initiative in order to have a diplomatic strategy.
But throughout most of its history, Israel had a fundamental challenge in achieving this preeminence.
Israel's Geopolitical Problem
The state's military preeminence had to be measured against the possibility of diplomatic failure. Israel had to assume that all front-line states would become hostile to it, and that it would have to launch a preemptive strike against them all. If this were the case, Israel had this dilemma: Its national industrial base was insufficient to provide it with the technological wherewithal to maintain its military superiority. It was not simply a question of money --all the money in the world could not change the demographics -- but also that Israel lacked the manpower to produce all of the weapons it needed to have and also to field an army. Therefore, Israel could survive only if it had a patron that possessed such an industrial base. Israel had to make itself useful to another country.
Israel's first patron was the Soviet Union, through its European satellites. Its second patron was France, which saw Israel as an ally during a time when Paris was trying to hold onto its interests in an increasingly hostile Arab world. Its third patron -- but not until 1967 -- was the United States, which saw Israel as a counterweight to pro-Soviet Egypt and Syria, as well as a useful base of operations in the eastern Mediterranean.
In 1967, Israel -- fearing a coordinated strike by the Arabs and also seeking to rationalize its defensive lines and create strategic depth -- launched an air and land attack against its neighbors. Rather than risk a coordinated attack, Israel launched a sequential attack -- first against Egypt, then Jordan, then Syria.
The success of the 1967 war gave rise to Israel's current geopolitical crisis.
Following the war, Israel had to balance three interests:
1. It now occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which contained large, hostile populations of Arabs. A full, peripheral war combined with an uprising in these regions would cut Israeli lines of supply and communication and risk Israel's defeat.
2. Israel was now dependent on the United States for its industrial base. But American interests and Israeli interests were not identical. The United States had interests in the Arab world, and had no interest in Israel crushing Palestinian opposition or expelling Palestinians from Israel. Retaining the industrial base and ruthlessly dealing with the Palestinians became incompatible needs.
3. Israel had to continue manipulating the balance of power among Arab states in order to prevent a full peripheral war. That, in turn, meant that it was further constrained in dealing with the Palestinian question by force.
Israeli geopolitics created the worst condition of all: Given the second and third considerations, Israel could not crush the Palestinians; but given its need for strategic depth and coherent borders, it could not abandon the occupied territories. It therefore had to continually constrain the Palestinians without any possibility of final victory. It had to be ruthless, which would enflame the Palestinians, but it could never be ruthless enough to effectively suppress them.
The Impermanence of Diplomacy
Israel has managed to maintain the diplomatic game it began in 1948: The Arabs remain deeply split. It has managed to retain its relationship with the United States, even with the end of the Cold War. Given the decline of the conventional threat, Israel's dependency on the United States has actually dwindled. For the moment, the situation is contained.
However -- and this is the key problem for Israel -- the diplomatic solution is inherently impermanent. It requires constant manipulation, and the possibility of failure is built in. For example, an Islamist rising in Egypt could rapidly generate shifts that Israel could not contain. Moreover, political changes in the United States could end American patronage, without the certainty of another patron emerging. These things are not likely to occur, but they are not inconceivable. Given enough time, anything is possible.
Israel's advantage is diplomatic and cultural. Its ability to split the Arabs, a diplomatic force, is coupled with its technological superiority, a cultural force. But both of these can change. The Arabs might unite, and they might accelerate their technological and military sophistication. Israel's superiority can change, but its inferiority is fixed: Geography and demography put it in an unchangeably vulnerable position relative to the Arabs.
The potential threats to Israel are:
1. A united and effective anti-Israeli coalition among the Arabs.
2. The loss of its technological superiority and, therefore, the loss of military initiative.
3. The need to fight a full peripheral war while dealing with an intifada within its borders.
4. The loss of the United States as patron and the failure to find an alternative.
5. A sudden, unexpected nuclear strike on its populated heartland.
Therefore, it follows that Israel has three options.
The first is to hope for the best. This has been Israel's position since 1967. The second is to move from conventional deterrence to nuclear deterrence. Israel already possesses this capability, but the value of nuclear weapons is in their deterrent capability, not in their employment. You can't deal with an intifada or with close-in conventional war with nuclear weapons -- not given the short distances involved in Israel. The third option is to reduce the possibility of disaster as far as possible by increasing the tensions in the Arab world, reducing the incentive for cultural change among the Arabs, eliminating the threat of intifada in time of war, and reducing the probability that the United States will find it in its interests to break with Israel
Hence, the withdrawal from Gaza. As a base for terrorism, Gaza poses a security threat to Israel. But the true threat from Gaza, and even more the West Bank, lies in the fact that they create a dynamic that decreases Israel's diplomatic effectiveness, risks creating Arab unity, increases the impetus for military modernization and places stress on Israel's relationship with the United States. The terrorist threat is painful. The alternative risks long-term catastrophe.
Some of the original reasons for Israel's founding, such as the desire for a socialist state, are now irrelevant to Israeli politics. And revisionism, like socialism, is a movement of the past. Modern Israel is divided into three camps:
1. Those who believe that the survival of Israel depends on disengaging from a process that enrages without crushing the Palestinians, even if it opens the door to terrorism.
2. Those who regard the threat of terrorism as real and immediate, and regard the longer-term strategic threats as theoretical and abstract.
3. Those who have a religious commitment to holding all territories.
The second and third factions are in alliance but, at the moment, it is the first faction that appears to be the majority. It is not surprising that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is leading this faction. As a military man, Sharon has a clear understanding of Israel's vulnerabilities. It is clearly his judgment that the long-term threat to Israel comes from the collapse of its strategic position, rather than from terrorism. He has clearly decided to accept the reality of terrorist attacks, within limits, in order to pursue a broader strategic initiative.
Israel has managed to balance the occupation of a hostile population with splitting Arab nation states since 1967. Sharon's judgment is that, given the current dynamics of the Muslim world, pursuing the same strategy for another generation would be both too costly and too risky. The position of his critics is that the immediate risks of disengagement increase the immediate danger to Israel without solving the long-term problem. If Sharon is right, then there is room for maneuver. But if his critics, including Benjamin Netanyahu, are right, Israel is locked down to an insoluble problem.
That is the real debate.
Send questions or comments
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security
on: August 17, 2005, 12:18:28 AM
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PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 11, 2005:
Images From the Battleground
Ranchers 75 miles from Tucson say bad border policies have resulted in a daily invasion of drugs, death, pollution and violence
By LEO W. BANKS
Leo W. Banks
An illegal alien dump site two miles northeast of Lyle Robinson's ranch house.
Leo W. Banks
Border patrol checks on an overturned smuggling vehicle on Tres Bellotas Road, July 28, 2005.
Leo W. Banks
An Arizona Department of Transportation official checks an abandoned smuggler vehicle on Jarillas Ranch.
Leo W. Banks
Lyle Robinson points out smuggling trails on his property.
Lyle Robinson's Tres Bellotas Ranch sits in a cradle of hills right on the Mexican border. It's a pretty place. Sprawling Mulberry trees shade the brick house and oak trees--bellotas in Spanish--decorate the surrounding landscape. This time of year, during the monsoon season, the oaks drop acorns that cowboys and others working this land, 13 miles southwest of Arivaca, have prized as summer snacks for centuries.
It hardly seems possible that such a peaceful-looking spot could be the scene of anything momentous. But it is.
Everyone in America has a stake in what's happening on the Tres Bellotas. Everyone in America should know about the events that play out daily on this remote ground, and on neighboring ranches, because they explain our present and foretell our future.
This is a place where all the rhetoric from the president and his government about homeland security crumbles to pieces on the hot ground. The Tres Bellotas is a battleground in the relentless, ugly, nonstop invasion of drugs and illegals across our southern border.
It will happen again tonight. Robinson knows this, because two invaders showed themselves earlier on this beautiful July morning, shortly after breakfast. Walking openly, without fear of harassment, the two men walked from Mexican soil into the United States through the wide-open international border gate 200 yards below Robinson's home.
They were rolling a tire that needed air, and reaching the house, they asked one of Robinson's cowboys for permission to use the ranch compressor.
These men, coyotes making final preparations for a night smuggling run of either drugs or people, displayed no menace. They were polite. So was Robinson's cowboy. He said by all means, muchachos, fill your tire.
But it was a Vito Corleone kind of request, one the cowboy couldn't refuse.
Robinson's ranch has no phone, no electricity and is, in his own words, a no man's land, where surviving means doing what's necessary, including maintaining cordial relations with the bad guys.
If they want air for their tire, you give it to them. If they want water, you're better off handing it over, because if you say no, they may break a water line to get it. If they want you to open the gate across the dirt road that runs between your home and your horse corrals, you open it. Why fight it? If you refuse, they'll just cut the lock.
Six months ago, Robinson looked out his window and saw something incredible--a traffic jam on the Tres Bellotas, with 15 pickup trucks backed up at this second gate, 150 feet from his house. The pickups sagged under the weight of the illegals they carried, probably 20 in each, 300 in all.
When Robinson walked out, the coyote asked him to open the gate to let them pass. Robinson did so, and off the group went, driving north.
So this long convoy of invaders entered the United States by driving through two open gates, encountering no law enforcement to check papers. Or screen them for infectious diseases. Or punch in computer codes to learn if they were criminals. Or search for chemical or biological agents. Or search for suitcase nukes. Or check the names against terror-watch lists.
Or even wave howdy. In other words, they encountered fewer obstacles than commuters in American cities face driving home from work in rush-hour traffic.
But they don't just enter through the wide-open gate below Robinson's house. His land abuts Mexico for six miles, and the invaders routinely cut holes in the four-strand barbed-wire fence separating the two nations.
They break into the country so often along this stretch that Robinson can't keep up with the fence repairs, an ongoing nightmare in which he is far from alone. It happens at many spots along our southern border.
Tom and Dena Kay, Robinson's nearest neighbors on the U.S. side, have five miles of border with Mexico, and smugglers cut holes in their fence about every three days.
A drug smuggler on horseback, pulling a pack mule, can make such a hole in 10 seconds with a wire cutter, usually without dismounting. He leans over, snips the first three strands, then coaxes his horse over the bottom wire. He's in. If he's driving a truck, he can enter even faster than that, simply by ramming down the fence and barreling on through, which Tom Kay says happens just as often.
This goes on almost daily, 75 miles southwest of Tucson--invaders from countries around the world coming across this international boundary in a time of war, a time when nuts would like nothing better than to sneak into this country and murder Americans on a grand scale.
The Border Patrol doesn't release a by-nation breakdown of those it arrests, and the agency is particularly tight-lipped about arrests of special interest aliens, known as SIAs. These are individuals from the list of about 35 countries the U.S. considers terror threats. But the Weekly has obtained SIA arrest figures from a federal law enforcement source who asked to remain anonymous.
From 2000 through 2003, plus the first nine months of fiscal 2004, agents in the Tucson sector, and the Arizona office of the Yuma sector, arrested 132 SIAs. The numbers include 10 from Afghanistan, seven from Iran, 12 from Yemen, 11 from Pakistan and three from Iraq.
Using the common estimate that the Border Patrol only catches one out of every three who cross, or as some believe, one of every five, we can calculate that upward of 660 individuals from terror-threat nations have crossed into our country through Arizona.
Those SIA arrest figures, by the way, include six individuals from Saudi Arabia, the country that produced 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 maniacs.
Along the border south of Arivaca, you'd best stand back when you utter those words, because the subject tends to make folks spitting mad. Even Robinson, a silver-haired, soft-spoken gentleman, gets a fire in his eyes when he talks about it.
"It's a joke," says the 67-year-old, semi-retired veterinarian. "Homeland security doesn't exist."
The contrabandistas have tainted life and corrupted hearts in Arivaca since before its founding as an American town in the 1870s. The trade is like a dirty fingerprint on the landscape, and a good bit of it runs along the Tres Bellotas Road, a dusty roller coaster that wends through canyons and rock washes from Arivaca down to the border.
It's rough country, all hills and horizon, and perfectly empty, unless you count soaring turkey buzzards, dust billows in your rearview, and the white-and-green Border Patrol trucks perched on intermittent hilltops.
Robinson and his wife, Mollie, knew the road running past their new home was a favorite of smugglers when they bought the place in 1969. But just in case they didn't, they received a dramatic reminder a few days after passing papers.
As they sat with the previous owner on the back porch, a proud young couple enjoying their first days on their new property, a station wagon roared up from Mexico. "Oh, there goes a marijuana load," said the previous owner in the most matter-of-fact voice possible.
Robinson admits to being a "little surprised" at the welcome, but not floored. The couple had seen the prevalence of drugs in their previous home, Gallup, N.M., and figured they couldn't escape it no matter where they went.
Even so, even sitting right on the border, they felt completely safe at the Tres Bellotas. "The first 30 years here, we had so few problems," says Mollie. "But the last six years, things have gotten really out of control with these illegals."
One day in 2003, Robinson and one of his cowboys rode their horses to a hilltop close to the house. To their shock, they saw an estimated 300 illegals congregated in the draw below. The riders watched as the mob divided into groups of 30 apiece, with one man, presumably a coyote, taking charge of each one as they prepared to walk north.
"I rode down and talked to them," says Robinson. "They weren't nervous or acting as if they were doing anything illegal at all. But seeing all those people on my land, and the way they acted, that's when I knew things had changed around here."
From then until now, the smugglers have all but taken charge, hijacking a way of life.
The hilly terrain offers abundant hiding places, says Border Patrol spokesman Gustavo Soto, and the Arivaca area's proximity to Altar and Sasabe, both right across the line in Mexico, make it a frequent crossing ground for drug and people smugglers. "The smugglers have built an infrastructure in those towns, which they use as staging areas to come across," says Soto. "They're trying to get to Highway 286 or I-19 up to Tucson, and the Arivaca road runs between those two highways."
On this hot summer day, as he rumbles across his land in a Jeep, Robinson talks about what it's like to live in the crosshairs of the invasion. The indignities include Mexican soldiers camping just south of the international gate below his house, a supposed show of force in the drug war. They come about every two months.
But these fellows make lousy neighbors. To kill time during the long days, they holler and fire off their weapons just for fun, filling the afternoon air with the rat-tat-tat of gunfire and scaring Robinson's horses.
Once-pristine canyons, narrow, shady oak and rock gorges, have become depressing dumping grounds for tons of feces, trash and personal items. "I don't really have anything against these illegals," says Robinson. "But it really gripes me how dirty they are, and they have no respect for private property."
The trash includes clothing--leather and denim jackets, Wrangler jeans and more--some of which is still usable after a good washing. Cowboys in the Arivaca area often add to their wardrobes by cruising these dump sites, and now, when Tres Bellotas cowboys go out riding, they joke, "See you later; we're going shopping."
In one of these dumps, Robinson found a hat with an Islamic crescent on it, and he rode up on a dead body, a young man, naked, a full water bottle right next to him. When dehydration sets in, people sometimes go mad and tear off their clothes before death. Two bodies have been found on his property this summer alone.
In his corral, Robinson has what he calls his "marijuana horse," an animal that smugglers turned loose. The pregnant mare has hideous open sores on her back from being forced to haul bails of marijuana without a saddle blanket. "There's not much I can do for her now," says Robinson. "Maybe her colt will be healthy."
It never ends.
One night two years ago, Lyle and Mollie were driving home on with a couple from Washington state in the car, the man a friend of Lyle's from his days at Colorado State University Veterinary School.
They encountered a high-speed chase on Black Mesa, 4 1/2 miles north of the ranch. A pickup filled with illegals was heading south, the Border Patrol in pursuit, when the smuggler suddenly wheeled off the Tres Bellotas Road into the desert. Robinson theorizes that coyotes about to be captured often become reckless, hoping to intentionally injure the illegals they're hauling, which they can then blame on the Border Patrol.
The smuggler truck sailed headlong through the darkness into a barbed wire fence. The top wire snapped up over the cab, then down, scalping a woman sitting in back. The wire literally removed her scalp from the middle of her forehead to halfway back on the top of her head. She was with her son, about 8 years old.
As Robinson tells this story, he's sitting at his kitchen table after a lunch of iced tea and enchiladas. Mollie is cleaning up at the sink. The sliding-glass door to the front porch is open, and an easy, warm wind blows in through the screen, bringing with it a faint whiff of the horse corrals and the chirping of birds.
It seems a scene of ultimate tranquility. But hanging over all of it is a sense of horror at what the invasion has brought to this land.
A visitor asks how his Washington guests reacted to stumbling upon the Wild West in modern-day Southern Arizona. "They'd never seen anything so exciting in their lives," Robinson says with a grim chuckle.
But it gets wilder still.
At 11:30 a.m. on April 22 this year, a Mexican helicopter landed in the Robinsons' backyard. Arivaca resident R.D. Ayers had driven to the ranch that morning to visit his injured dog, then under Dr. Robinson's care.
Ayers describes stepping outside the house to see what he describes as "a military Huey-type helicopter" circling, at the same time that a truck from the Tucson Fuel Co. was pulling into the yard. The Tres Bellotas gets its power from diesel generators, and that fuel has to be delivered.
As he approached the chopper, Ayers says six men in black, commando-type uniforms stepped out. Five had ski-type masks over their faces, and they wore body armor and carried automatic rifles. On their sleeves, Ayers saw the word, Mexico.
They stood in a defensive posture around a sixth man, their leader, who identified himself as a member of the Mexican police. He pointed aggressively to the fuel truck and asked what it was doing there. Ayers, in Spanish, told the man he was in the United States, not Mexico, and that he had no business in this country and needed to leave.
But the commander refused to listen and began walking toward the truck, at which point Ayers placed himself between the commander and the truck, again telling him to scram. After a few minutes, the tense confrontation ended when the commander ordered his troops into the chopper, and they split back across the border.
Ayers suspects that the Mexicans--one of Robinson's cowboys identified them as federales, Mexican federal police--were escorting a drug shipment to Tucson, and wanted to haul it in the fuel truck. Or they wanted to steal the fuel. The chopper had followed the truck much of the way down Tres Bellotas Road.
"Men with fully automatic weapons and masks don't just show up to say hello," says a still-outraged Ayers, owner of a backhoe company and a former EMT in Arivaca. He added that if he'd had his gun, he might've fired on the invaders. "I wasn't going to back down. This is my country."
These drug incursions occur with some regularity along the border. The Kays and Robinson say they're personally aware of three such incursions this summer alone, and it's worth noting that the men who recently shot two Border Patrol agents near Nogales also wore black, commando-type gear.
But this episode, like the others, has disappeared into the vapor of national security. Tucson Fuel refuses comment. The Border Patrol won't talk about it, saying its agents got to the Tres Bellotas too late to learn much of anything. The FBI in Tucson took a report the same day and forwarded it to Washington, but they're not talking, either.
As for Robinson, he was gone from the ranch that day, holding a veterinary clinic on the Tohono O'Odham Reservation--ironically enough, under a contract from the Department of Homeland Security. "I really don't know what happened," he says. "But I know my cowboys were so scared, they hid in the barn."
The driver of the fuel truck arrived at Tom and Dena Kay's ranch, eight miles north of the Robinson place, between noon and 1 p.m. that day.
"He was still shaken up, really wild-eyed," says Dena, who put in the first call to the Border Patrol. Ayers had tried to call, but when he got atop Black Mesa, the only place in the immediate area where cell phones work, the call wouldn't go through. He suspects that smugglers had jammed the signal.
At the moment, the Kays' Jarillas Ranch is a bustle of activity. Tom Kay, 63, is working the controls of a forklift with-on-the-ground help from his two cowboys, Roberto Triana and son, Peter. They're preparing a huge stack of railroad ties for eventual transportation to job sites around the 13,000-acre spread.
The solar-powered ranch house, located back from the clearing where Tom and his hands are working, sits on a rise above Tres Bellotas Road, shielded from its wildness by distance, some apple trees and a strong security gate.
After moving here in January 2003, the Kays spent six months re-doing everything about the house, except for two fireplaces that remain untouched. They sandblasted paint off the ceilings, installed a saguaro-rib ceiling in a hallway, and out front, beneath a tall pine tree, they built a rock wall around the manicured front lawn.
But the most telling touch is the sign hanging on the porch. Instead of the traditional Mi Casa Es Su Casa, so common on ranch-country homes, this message perfectly reflects the Kays' stance toward the illegals and smugglers who threaten their Eden. It reads, Mi Tierra Es Mi Tierra--my land is my land.
It's a manifesto, a hope and a bit of a prayer in a place where the invasion never stops, and its perpetrators receive, in the Kays' view, encouragement and welcome from water-in-the-desert "do-gooders."
On Arivaca Road on July 9, the Border Patrol busted two members of the self-described border-help group No More Deaths, alleging that they violated the law by transporting three illegals. Standing beneath the big pine tree outside her house, her bull mastiff, Ruby, bustling at her feet, Dena can't contain her delight that the Border Patrol has finally taken a stand against the group, which she says "entices people into our country to die."
"They put these crossers at the mercy of the coyotes, who rob and abandon all of them, and rape and abuse women," says Dena. "On the Fourth of July weekend, they found several bodies near here, and I hold these do-gooders morally responsible for every one of those deaths. They're so damn self-righteous, and they don't want to hear about all the damage the illegals are doing. They don't know how we're forced to live and don't want to find out.
"I invite all these so-called Samaritans to publish their home addresses so the illegals can go to their homes and defecate on their property and pound on their doors in the middle of the night and see how they like it."
Dena, 61, grew up at the Tucson's Tanque Verde Guest Ranch--when it was still a working ranch--taught English at Rincon High School and worked for 15 years as executive director of a domestic abuse advocacy center in Cortez, Colo.
In the latter job, she dealt with several women whose battering husbands, illegal aliens, had been deported to Mexico. Within a few months, they were back doing it again, and from that, she knew how easy it was to sneak back and forth across the line.
Beyond that, she and Tom had little first-hand knowledge of how overwhelming illegal immigration had become, and how dangerous. But an episode early in their time at the Jarillas Ranch initiated the Kays into the nightmare.
Dena was driving home along the Tres Bellotas when she turned a corner and ran smack-dab into 15 pickup trucks stuffed with about 25 illegals each. They were heading toward Arivaca and Interstate 19. When the lead truck saw Dena's vehicle, the driver jammed the brakes, then all the trucks began making U-turns on the narrow road, blocking her in.
"Here I am trying to get home at night, and there are hundreds of illegals and smugglers blocking my path," says Dena, who was unable to move for five minutes. "I didn't have my gun, and I'm thinking, 'Oops, I hope you guys don't want to steal my car.'"
The episode ended peacefully when the trucks got turned around and headed south.
On other occasions, the Kays have watched in astonishment as smuggler vehicles have rolled past in broad daylight, packed with human cargo. In one case, they saw a parade of pickup trucks with invaders sitting all around the edge of the rear bed, their arms locked so they wouldn't fall off. More stood in the bed, and they were packed in so tightly, it seemed impossible to breathe. Still more were packed into the double cabs like a fraternity stunt.
The site provided a stunning visual lesson in the economics of people smuggling. The Kays figure that each cab-and-a-half truck carried at least 50 people. According to Border Patrol estimates, each illegal pays $1,500 for transportation north. That's a grand total of $75,000 per truck. For, say, 15 trucks, that's a stunning $1.1 million.
"When I see those trucks, I think of slave ships passing in a harbor 300 years ago," says Tom.
The trucks sometimes roar down the rocky, gouged-out Tres Bellotas Road at night, with their lights off, at 50 mph. Dena says the nighttime racket can be especially loud during the Border Patrol's shift change, a time the coyotes know well. She has even seen mothers cradling babies, six months to two years old, at the roadside, after apprehension by the Border Patrol, and the babies are vomiting violently.
"I'm sure they have shaken-baby syndrome from driving this road at such high speeds," she says. "But as soon as they're released into Mexico, those mothers will be back with their babies to try again. They have no clue about the brain damage they've just caused their children."
Dena praises the Border Patrol's efforts to try to control illegal vehicle traffic on the road. "But they're overwhelmed," she says. "The illegals come at them from every direction."
The problems they cause are constant. The Kays have repeatedly had their outside water spigot left on, leaving no water for them to use their bathroom or shower. Neighboring ranchers have found stock tanks fouled by shampoo, soap and toothpaste deposited by invaders who use them as their personal bathroom sinks.
As Dena sits in her spacious living room, the summer light pouring in through the arched windows, she rattles off these episodes with some emotion, but not much. She's a thin woman with a gravelly voice and a fierce determination, a trait she acquired while running the women's center.
There, she testified against spousal abusers in court, in spite of their vows to come after her if she did. "I've had my life threatened a number of times," Dena says, shrugging. "I guess I got used to it. When you've been a victim's advocate, you learn not to give up."
She needs that kind of mettle living outside Arivaca, an unincorporated town of about 2,000 people.
On a Sunday night in early July, the Kays were alerted to something going on outside the house by the frantic barking of their four dogs. When Dena opened the door, she saw three illegals, in aggressive postures, one of them bare-chested. They asked for water. In Spanish, Dena responded, "You don't want water. Get the hell out of here. I'm calling la migra."
Like most ranchers, the Kays have given water to polite illegals in need. But these fellows were bad news. When they didn't respond to Dena's demand to hit the road, she told Tom, in a voice loud enough for the invaders to hear, to get her gun. Those words did the trick. "Unless they hear la pistola, they won't leave," Dena says.
Shortly afterward, to make sure they were gone, Tom went down to the gate and saw two trucks, presumably carrying the same men, coming down the road toward Arivaca, their lights off. As they passed, Tom aimed his flashlight into one of the cabs, and the men waved at him. Tom thinks those trucks might've carried drugs, but he didn't get a good enough look to be sure, and the Kays can only guess what those three men had planned while approaching their home.
Right now, Tom has just come into the living room, taking a break from working the railroad ties. A lifelong team roper in rodeo competitions, he spent 15 years running a sign company and athletic clubs in Tucson, his hometown, before spending most of the '80s and '90s in Colorado. He operated a small ranch there and ran a manufacturing company. But he's never had to run a business under the conditions he confronts every day on the border.
About a year ago, Tom was out riding when he witnessed a running gunfight in which automatic weapons-toting gangsters blasted away at each other on National Forest land on the U.S. side of the border, and the fight continued onto the Mexican side.
And in June this year, Roberto and Peter saw a second gunfight, also with automatic weapons. This one ended with two bodies being dumped into the bed of a pickup truck, which then fled into Mexico.
Surprisingly, Tom doesn't consider the violence of the drug smugglers his biggest problem. It's how ridiculously easy it is for them, and people smugglers--the two often work together, sometimes within the same gang--to invade American territory. They simply cut the fence, or run it down, and they're in.
But that also lets his cows out into Mexico, and that explains the railroad ties.
In two places, Tom is replacing cuts in his border fence with cattle guards--the ties will line the pits below the steel guardrails--hoping the smugglers will drive or walk across the guards, rather than cut his fence.
It's a desperate measure, giving bad guys ready access through America's back door. But Tom and Lyle Robinson, who also plans to install border cattle guards, say it's the only way they can maintain control over their livestock. At up to $1,000 a head, every animal that drifts into Mexico threatens their ability to stay in business.
"I talked to the Border Patrol and the Forest Service about the fence cuts, and they said there's nothing they can do," says Tom. "They said do what you have to do."
Border Patrol spokesman Soto says the agency is aware of the repeated fence cuts, and has no objections to ranchers installing cattle guards.
But if the agency knows about these constant border break-ins--a clear and present threat to national security and American sovereignty--why can't it be stopped? "We have a heavy presence in that area, but it's extremely difficult to control," says Soto. "In cases like this, we rely on ranchers to tell us the crossing patterns on their property. We don't have agents holding hands along the border. They're responding to other calls."
When his cattle do drift into Mexico, Tom sometimes contacts the Mexican brand inspector in Sasabe, Sonora, for help. But that's time-consuming, and Tom knows that if he sees fresh tracks and doesn't follow them right away, his animals might next appear on somebody's dinner plate in Sonora. To get them back, he saddles up and rides into Mexico with Roberto and Peter to find them.
In addition to being a national security nightmare, the fence cuts represent another fundamental outrage--the invaders are severely restricting how American citizens can use their property. Tom has two pastures abutting the border, Lyle Robinson three, and both say they can only use this land if they have cowboys available to ride the border fence at least once a day to keep the fence up.
The cost? Taking into account all the fences on his property, including the border fence, Tom spends at least one-third of his time looking for and fixing breaks.
"Two or three times a week, I have to send my cowboys to the border to make sure my fence is up, and it's an all-day job," he says. "All of this is expensive. If I make $40,000 a year running this ranch, every bit of that profit goes to repairing the damage these people do."
Why stay on land that American law enforcement can't or won't secure? After all, some around Arivaca already have left. In August 2001, Don Honnas and his wife, Carolyn, sold out after almost 41 years, in part due to illegals and drug smugglers.
As they reached their late 60s, the Honnases tired of sleeping with pistols under their pillows, suffering through 25 break-ins at ranch buildings, listening to their dogs bark all night and seeing two of their dogs poisoned. One of their biggest worries, remarkably, was the liability they might incur if one of their dogs bit an illegal, and the illegal sued.
"But the hardest part was when you call law enforcement, and they tell you they have nobody to send," says Honnas, now living in Sahuarita. "It was a difficult decision to get out, but we had to make a move."
For Tom Kay, running a ranch as big as the Jarillas has always been a lifelong dream, and he'll suffer through the dangers to keep it. "I'm very watchful and alert when I'm out working, but I'm not afraid," he says. "How could you be afraid and go to work every day? I'm not going to be afraid."
Whenever he rides his land, Tom carries a .44-caliber Magnum pistol on his saddle for self-defense, and for predatory lions. And when Dena goes for walks, she brings Ruby, the bull mastiff, and her pistol.
As far as she's concerned, the gun isn't optional. This is especially so in light of Border Patrol statistics showing that the common assumption about who is sneaking across the line and why--the harmless illegal only looking for work--has shifted significantly in recent years.
From Oct. 1, 2004, through July 24 of this year, Tucson sector agents arrested 375,000 illegals--37,000 a month. Of that 10-month arrest total, more than 28,324 had criminal records, 283 for sexually related crimes. Given this, and the effort it takes to reach their isolated house from the road, the Kays consider anyone who shows up at their door at night a threat. But they also know that should a confrontation go bad, American law enforcement will probably come after them.
"We've all been warned to not even show a gun to an illegal," she says. "A woman here did that a while ago, just showed it, didn't point it, and the FBI came to her house and warned her not to do it again, because it's a federal crime to threaten an illegal. But if I'm alone, what am I supposed to do? I can't scream, because no one will hear me."
Robinson is also sadly aware of whose side his own government is on when it comes to defending himself.
"Any rights we might have to protect our property or make an arrest have been taken from us," says Robinson, who usually doesn't carry a gun and doesn't particularly like them. "As far as I'm concerned, the smugglers can run anything they want through my ranch, and I'm not going to get up at night and look at them, and I'm sure not going to confront them. It's not my job. Besides, if I tried, and somebody got shot, I'd be the one to get arrested. The ACLU would probably take the case, and we'd lose our life savings."
It's early afternoon at the Tres Bellotas, and the sun is blazing over the desert. Out here, the intense summer heat keeps everyone's eyes focused on the sky for buzzards, because buzzards might mean a dead body, or body parts. Lions and coyotes sometimes descend on the corpses of illegals, leaving the death site a scatter of arms, legs or even a head.
Robinson has something he wants to show a visitor and pilots the Jeep up a steep hill less than a mile from his house.
The view from the peak would qualify for a postcard, if it weren't for the mass of litter and glass shards gleaming in the sunlight, and the smuggling trails that spider-web across the landscape. Some are so pounded down, they look like roads.
On this wind-swept peak, Mexican land visible across the pathetic little fence below, Robinson stands silently, examining what can only be described as a heartbreaking scene. He doesn't react to the debris and the environmental damage, at least openly.
But friends say the daily insults, the trampling of American law and sovereignty, the trashing of his property and especially the unwillingness of his own government to stop it, eats at his gut. Now, there's the latest chapter in the invasion--the helicopter landing. Robinson says he thinks about it often.
"I've never felt personally threatened living here until that Mexican helicopter landed," he says. "I know these Mexican drug people have access to helicopters, and if they get mad at me, what's to stop them from flying over the house and dropping a bomb and getting rid of me in seconds flat? Who'd care? The American government sure doesn't care. It makes me think how vulnerable I am."
As Dena Kay says, "There's nothing Lyle can do. If he fights back, the smugglers might burn his house, or he'll get up in the morning and find all his horses poisoned."
In addition to ratcheting up the stakes, the chopper incident did something else--it cut off Robinson's fuel supply. Tucson Fuel informed him that it would no longer deliver diesel to the ranch. Another company made one delivery and quit, citing the lousy condition of the road. The Border Patrol has helped by delivering fuel, and they've offered to provide an armed escort if Robinson can find a company willing to deliver. But Robinson hasn't decided what he'll do. He's thinking of buying a tanker to deliver his own fuel, and installing solar power. But that still won't give him phone service, except with his cell from atop Black Mesa, a 20-minute drive away.
Two years ago, he and Mollie got an expensive satellite phone and used it for several weeks, until all of their calls began mysteriously routing through a Mexican operator in Hermosillo. Even Verizon's technical people couldn't explain it.
Then a Border Patrol agent told the Robinsons what they already suspected: It's the smugglers again. They'd probably jammed the signals. The Kays say the same thing. At times of heavy night traffic on the Tres Bellotas, their cell phone--they have no land line--sometimes stops working for no apparent reason.
But Robinson doesn't spend a lot of time calling the Border Patrol. Even when he's certain a group is coming through --such as tonight's tire rollers--he usually won't call it in.
"If I were to call the Border Patrol, they'd say thank you and probably do nothing," says Robinson, adding that he'd have to drive up to Black Mesas several times a day to report suspicious sightings. "I'd be on the phone all the time and be frustrated all the time. I can't let it control me and affect my health. It'd ruin me."
And by the time the Border Patrol arrived, the threat would likely have passed. When Dena Kay called to report the helicopter incident, it took the Border Patrol four hours to get to the Tres Bellotas.
As Robinson sees it, the Border Patrol leaves his ranch largely undefended.
Even though the agency has had a horse patrol unit living at the ranch at times this summer, Robinson says that's unusual. More normally, agents come to the ranch in the morning looking for tracks, then either depart altogether or retreat to peaks miles back from the ranch to sit in their trucks and watch.
This allows the invaders unfettered access through Robinson's property, and it burns him up.
"Even though I'm only 200 yards from the border, my position is these illegals should never get here," says Robinson. "If you had real homeland security, they'd never be able to reach my ranch. But they're pouring across the line while the Border Patrol sits back on the hills, waiting to arrest them father back. I'm left here on my own, and it's like a taking of my property."
No phone, no fuel, and usually no Border Patrol. No man's land. So why stay?
It's the easiest question of all: It's home. The Robinsons raised their four children at the ranch. Most of their memories are on this land, and so are their hearts. They even have a ranch graveyard, the final resting place for several family members.
But Mollie admits it hasn't been easy, even from those first days in 1969. She had difficulty adjusting to the isolation, and took comfort in the biblical passage from Luke, in which Jesus said, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Mollie did that then, and she and Lyle are doing the same thing now, keeping their hands on the plow and asking God, through their prayers, to keep them safe. It's what they have instead of homeland security.
Everyone in America has a stake in those prayers being answered.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / training in los angeles
on: August 16, 2005, 10:35:11 PM
DBMA Sr. Lakan Guro Pappy Dog has a weekly class and privates in North Hollywood. 818-618-0525
I teach at the Inosanto Academy on Saturdays at 1300. At 1200 Guro John Spezzaon has an excellent FMA class as well. For other classes call the Inosanto Academy
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security
on: August 14, 2005, 08:35:24 AM
Moving a post by Buzzwardo from another thread to here-- Crafty
Airline Security Changes Planned
Threats Reassessed To Ease Clearance
By Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 13, 2005; Page A01
The new head of the Transportation Security Administration has called for a broad review of the nation's air security system to update the agency's approach to threats and reduce checkpoint hassles for passengers.
Edmund S. "Kip" Hawley, an assistant secretary of homeland security, directed his staff to propose changes in how the agency screens 2 million passengers a day. The staff's first set of recommendations, detailed in an Aug. 5 document, includes proposals to lift the ban on various carry-on items such as scissors, razor blades and knives less than five inches long. It also proposes that passengers no longer routinely be required to remove their shoes at security checkpoints.
After Sept. 11, 2001, many personal items were banned from flights. (By Shawn Baldwin -- Associated Press)
Agency officials plan to meet this month to consider the proposals, which would require Hawley's approval to go into effect.
Since his confirmation in June, Hawley has told his staff that he would reevaluate security measures put in place since the terrorist attacks in 2001 and ensure that they make sense, given today's threats. The TSA is struggling with new cuts in the screener workforce imposed by Congress while its new leaders hope to improve the agency's poor reputation among air travelers by introducing more customer-friendly measures. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signaled the effort when he announced that the agency would eliminate a requirement that forced passengers to remain in their seats during the first and last 30 minutes of flights using Reagan National Airport.
"The process is designed to stimulate creative thinking and challenge conventional beliefs," said TSA spokesman Mark O. Hatfield Jr. "In the end, it will allow us to work smarter and better as we secure America's transportation system."
The TSA memo proposes to minimize the number of passengers who must be patted down at checkpoints. It also recommends that certain categories of passengers be exempt from airport security screening, such as members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances.
The proposal also would allow ice picks, throwing stars and bows and arrows on flights. Allowing those items was suggested after a risk evaluation was conducted about which items posed the most danger.
If approved, only passengers who set off walk-through metal detectors or are flagged by a computer screening system will have to remove their shoes at security checkpoints. The proposal also would give security screeners the discretion to ask certain passengers "presenting reasonably suspicious behavior or threat characteristics" to remove their shoes.
The proposal also would give screeners discretion in determining whether to pat down passengers. For example, screeners would not have to pat down "those persons whose outermost garments closely conform to the natural contour of the body."
The memo also calls for a new formula to replace the set of computer-screening rules that select passengers for more scrutiny. Currently, the system commonly flags passengers who book one-way tickets or modify travel plans at the last minute. The new TSA plan would give TSA managers assigned to each major airport the authority to de-select a passenger who has been picked out by a computer system.
Some security analysts praised the agency's proposal, saying that security screeners spend too much time trying to find nail scissors and not enough time focused on today's biggest threat: a suicide bomber boarding an airplane. The TSA has very limited capability to detect explosives under a person's clothing, for example, and is trying to roll out more high-tech machines that can protect against such threats.
K. Jack Riley, a homeland security expert at Rand Corp., said hardened cockpit doors, air marshals and stronger public vigilance will prevent another 9/11-style hijacking. "Frankly, the preeminent security challenge at this point is keeping explosives off the airplane," Riley said. The TSA's ideas, he said, "recognize the reality that we know that air transportation security has changed post-9/11. Most of these rules don't contribute to security."
Douglas R. Laird, former head of security for Northwest Airlines, said the proposal was a step backward. Laird said exempting certain categories of passengers from security screening would be dangerous because trusted groups have occasionally abused the privilege. "In an effort to be customer friendly, they're forgetting that their primary requirement is to keep airplanes safe," Laird said. "Either you screen everybody or why screen anybody?"
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters
on: August 10, 2005, 09:05:48 PM
Poland: Warsaw, Washington's Point Man
Azerbaijan accused Poland on Aug. 10 of training opposition youth groups to engage in "color revolution" activities aimed at unseating the government of President Ilham Aliyev, a charge Warsaw denies. Poland is now effectively the forward operating base for Washington's geopolitical offensive into the former Soviet Union, with Warsaw a very willing participant. The consequences of this for the region, however, could turn out to be more than Poland is bargaining for.
Azerbaijan accused Poland on Aug. 10 of training an Azerbaijani youth opposition group to engage in "color revolution" activities designed to bring an end to the rule of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his New Azerbaijan party.
Belarus has leveled similar charges against Warsaw of late, leading to a severe deterioration in already chilled bilateral relations that have seen a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions. Poland denies the Azerbaijani charges, but the latest accusations from Baku provide another indication that Warsaw has in fact volunteered to be Washington's forward base in its continuing political offensive into the former Soviet Union (FSU).
Government sources in multiple FSU countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, say opposition parties from their countries are receiving training in Poland, largely funded by U.S. and Western European nongovernmental organizations. The training is said to consist of the how-to of organizing protests and popular "revolutions," handling crowds and motivating them to be as aggressive as possible without provoking violent security-force responses, waging information campaigns, training young opposition leaders and fundraising. Though these strategies are not new, warehousing them in a third country on the border of the FSU is, and the eventual response to this from targeted FSU states could be more than both Warsaw and Brussels are prepared for.
From Washington's perspective, Poland represents the perfect candidate to fill this kind of role. It is a large European country that always constituted the Achilles' heel of Moscow's control over Central Europe during the Soviet period, and centuries of competition with -- not to mention occupation by -- Russia have left the country strongly anti-Russian. As Warsaw can today be fairly confident that it faces no threat from its other historical foe, Germany, Moscow is left as Poland's greatest source of geopolitical concern. Poland cannot feel secure as long as Russia has the potential to be a superpower.
Like Warsaw, Washington shares Russia as a geopolitical concern, though Washington sees Russia as a threat to its supremacy while Poland sees Russia as a threat to its survival. Warsaw and Washington therefore constitute ideal partners, with the superpower backing a regional power sharing the common goal of bringing Moscow to its knees both inside and beyond Russia's borders.
Poland's -- as well as and Europe's -- relative weakness compared to the United States, however, means the FSU countries can retaliate against the EU nations more cheaply than they think they could act against Washington, and the first evidence of this is now beginning to appear.
The Polish government does little to discourage anti-Russian sentiment in Poland, where it flourishes. It is no surprise, therefore, when attacks occur such as those on July 31, when the teenage children of three Russian diplomats were beaten in Warsaw by Polish youths. It also is no surprise that two Polish diplomats have been beaten in central Moscow in recent days -- both in broad daylight near the Polish Embassy -- these were retaliatory attacks. If such an attack were perpetrated against American officials, the Kremlin would go on a rampage. The Poles, however, command no such clout, and having dealt with Poland's anti-Russian sentiments for centuries, the Kremlin will not extend the same patience to Warsaw that it might to Washington.
Though in recent years Russia and its allies have more or less stood by while the United States and Europe whittled away Russian influence and increased their influence over governments in the FSU, this has begun to change. Moscow has begun to realize that it is now fighting Washington for its geopolitical survival, and it is rallying its resources in the FSU with other governments that face a similar fate at the hands of the U.S. geopolitical offensive in the region. In other words, Moscow cannot be expected to stand idly by while Poland tries to force it to its knees.
This highlights the risks of Poland's decision to play the part it has assumed in Washington's broader geopolitical game. Poland is making enemies across the FSU, yet its proximity to the region means its actions make a backlash inevitable. While the majority of Poland's trade has been reoriented westwards, it still has certain economic dependencies to its east.
These include a near-total dependence on Russian energy supplies, and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from both transit fees on gas traveling from Russia westwards across Polish territory and the luggage trade involving FSU countries to the east that brings hard currency to the country. Both of these could be affected by a protracted dispute.
While Russia is not about to shoot its own foot by cutting off gas supplies not only to Poland, but to Western Europe as well, political concerns about Poland are creating strong support in Moscow for the underwater Northern European gas line that would connect Russia directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea, thus bypassing Poland. Russian state-owned gas monopoly Gazprom has little interest in paying for the pipeline, but if Warsaw were to cause enough trouble, Moscow could potentially decide to bite the bullet for the sake of cutting Poland out of the equation.
Poland's involvement could have repercussions beyond Poland as well. Warsaw is giving encouragement to the likes of Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Georgia -- all countries now with virulently anti-Russian governments -- to help it in the pursuit of Moscow's demise. This kind of coalition could lead to a drawing of lines in Central and Eastern Europe between the two sides that would considerably raise tensions in the region.
Going one step further, as Warsaw is now a full-fledged member of the European Union, Brussels is bound to get involved in the struggle if Poland maintains it current course of action. Moscow and its allies will demand that Brussels step in to restrain Warsaw, and though Brussels is not interested in being as proactive as Washington in weakening Russia, it is also perfectly happy to watch Washington go to work on Russia. This is particularly true now that the European Union includes most of the countries that were once part of the Warsaw Pact, none of which has feelings of goodwill toward Moscow.
A broader dispute between FSU countries and the European Union could have troubling ramifications for both sides. The FSU countries want economic ties with the EU to promote economic growth, and Brussels could easily restrict their access to EU markets. For its part, the European Union is dependent on FSU -- and particularly Russian -- energy supplies. Gazprom recently announced it would raise prices for the Baltic states, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine -- all FSU states with anti-Russian governments -- along with a one-third price hike for the European Union. The move will bruise all of these countries economically to varying degrees.
The sizeable price hike, a sudden jolt following years of increases of 5 percent or less, is an indication both of already rising political tensions between Russia and Europe and of the extent to which Russia can hold Europe hostage when it comes to energy supplies. These countries have no choice but to pay Russia's price.
Even with strong U.S. backing, Poland is playing a high-stakes game of considerable regional significance in taking on the FSU countries. With both sides playing for keeps, more trouble likely lies ahead.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in the media
on: August 10, 2005, 08:59:23 PM
Those of us who are married may be aware of a "reality TV for women" phenomenon wherein someone's home is fixed up "while they were out"; "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and the like.
Well, Pappy Dog and Shaggy Dog's den of iniquity and pigpen is up for the fix up treatment on some minor cable show.
Developing , , ,
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hello to the DBMA forum
on: August 09, 2005, 05:15:46 PM
I cracked up when I saw the Columbia Alum mag in Eric's truck the first day we met.
Julia Richman Public HS, NYC
U. of PA '77 B.A. Major: International Relations (specialization in Mexico/Latin America, Minor in Econ)
Columbia Law School '81 J.D.
But then I went for the big bucks of stickfighting,
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kali - Means to Scrape
on: August 09, 2005, 05:09:33 PM
Pappy Dog premiered it in North Hollywood on Sunday night.
I enjoyed the film greatly-- a real pleasure seeing GT Gaje and others in action.
The party was fun too: An Angelina Joile lookalike with fire sticks and some stellar Mexican pro-wrestlers.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Staff from around the world
on: August 09, 2005, 05:03:57 PM
The footage in POWER of the first series was of the Surma of southwestern Ethiopia, so according to the description below, yes it is the same tribe.
Yes PT's "Malayu Sibat" is one of the systems upon which DBMA draws for its staff.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly
on: August 09, 2005, 01:16:54 AM
Man forgets wife at gas station
Monday, August 8, 2005; Posted: 10:36 a.m. EDT (14:36 GMT)
Italy ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- A Macedonian man left his wife at an Italian service station and only realized he had driven off without her six hours later, news agency Ansa said.
The couple, who were travelling with their 4-year-old daughter, pulled over for petrol in the coastal city of Pesaro as they were heading back to their home to Germany.
After filling the tank, the husband drove away -- without noticing that his 30-year-old wife, originally from Georgia, had got out of the car to go to the toilet.
The woman, who had no money or documents with her, contacted the police who eventually traced her husband to Milan, some 340 km (210 miles) north of Pesaro, Ansa said.
The husband told police he had not missed his wife because she always sat in the back of the car with their daughter.
Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Guau
on: August 07, 2005, 08:47:43 PM
Regrese' de Peru el viernes en la manana despues de 18 dias alli.
Yo disfrutaba mucho el seminario en Ica, pero el tiempo con mi madre fue dificil. Unos dias antes de que yo llegue', ella fue robada en su casa por 8 hombres con pistolas y mi tiempo con ella estaba dedicaba a preparando un equipo para su seguridad.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People
on: August 07, 2005, 08:41:02 PM
The real reason behind the push for gun control:
And yet Democrats do believe in gun control, even though playground gunshot injuries are a proven vote-getter. This is because Democrats believe that gun owners want to keep their guns mostly in case they need to shoot Democrats. It happened in 1861 and it could happen again.? PJ O?Rourke
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico
on: August 02, 2005, 12:21:12 PM
Muchisimas gracias por los articulos con procedencia de Mexico compartidos aqui. Lamento que otra vez poner otro en ingles. Si alguien tiene programa de traduccion, se le agradeceria mucho su traduccion por los quienes no leen el ingles.
Tambien lamento no tener tiempo en este momento para ofrecer mis pensamientos sobre estos graves acontecimientos, pero cuando yo tenga el tiempo para hacerlo, si' lo hare.
Mexican mercenaries expand base into U.S.
By Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
August 1, 2005
A renegade band of Mexican military deserters, offering $50,000 bounties for the assassination of U.S. law-enforcement officers, has expanded its base of operations into the United States to protect loads of cocaine and marijuana being brought into America by Mexican smugglers, authorities said.
The deserters, known as the "Zetas," trained in the United States as an elite force of anti-drug commandos, but have since signed on as mercenaries for Mexican narcotics traffickers and have recruited an army of followers, many of whom are believed to be operating in Texas, Arizona, California and Florida.
Working mainly for the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico's most dangerous drug-trafficking organizations, as many as 200 Zeta members are thought to be involved, including former Mexican federal, state and local police. They are suspected in more than 90 deaths of rival gang members and others, including police officers, in the past two years in a violent drug war to control U.S. smuggling routes.
The organization's hub, law-enforcement authorities said, is Nuevo Laredo, a border city of 300,000 across from Laredo, Texas. It is the most active port-of-entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, with more than 6,000 trucks crossing daily into Texas, carrying about 40 percent of Mexico's total exports.
Authorities said the Zetas control the city despite efforts by Mexican President Vicente Fox to restore order. He sent hundreds of Mexican troops and federal agents to the city in March to set up highway checkpoints and conduct raids on suspected Zeta locations.
Despite the presence of law enforcement, more than 100 killings have occurred in the city since Jan. 1, including that of former Police Chief Alejandro Dominguez, 52, gunned down June 8, just seven hours after he was sworn in. The city's new chief, Omar Pimentel, 37, escaped death during a drive-by shooting on his first day, although one of his bodyguards was killed.
Authorities said the Zetas operate over a wide area of the U.S.-Mexico border and are suspected in at least three drug-related slayings in the Dallas area. They said as many as 10 Zeta members are operating inside Texas as Gulf Cartel assassins, seeking to protect nearly $10 million in daily drug transactions.
In March, the Justice Department said the Zetas were involved "in multiple assaults and are believed to have hired criminal gangs" in the Dallas area for contract killings. The department said the organization was spreading from Texas to California and Florida and was establishing drug-trafficking routes it was willing to protect "at any cost."
Just last month, the department issued a new warning to law-enforcement authorities in Arizona and California, urging them to be on the lookout for Zeta members. An intelligence bulletin said a search for new drug-smuggling routes in the two states by the organization could bring new violence to the areas.
The number of assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents along the 260 miles of U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona known as the Tucson sector has increased dramatically this year, including a May 30 shooting near Nogales, Ariz., in which two agents were seriously wounded during an ambush a mile north of the border.
Their assailants were dressed in black commando-type clothing, used high-powered weapons and hand-held radios to point out the agents' location, and withdrew from the area using military-style cover and concealment tactics to escape back into Mexico.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada in Nogales said his investigators found commando clothing, food, water and other "sophisticated equipment" at the ambush site.
Since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, there have been 196 assaults on Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector, including 24 shootings. During the same period last year, 92 assaults were reported, with five shootings. The sector is the busiest alien- and drug-trafficking corridor in the country.
U.S. intelligence officials have described the Zetas as an expanding gang of mercenaries with intimate knowledge of Mexican drug-trafficking methods and routes. Strategic Forecasting Inc., a security consulting firm that often works with the State and Defense departments, said in a recent report the Zetas had maintained "connections to the Mexican law-enforcement establishment" to gain unfettered access throughout the southern border.
Many of the Zeta leaders belonged to an elite anti-drug paratroop and intelligence battalion known as the Special Air Mobile Force Group, who deserted in 1991 and aligned themselves with drug traffickers.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tom 'The Whip' Meadows' new paladin press book...
on: August 02, 2005, 12:13:57 PM
My son Conrad & I stopped by Tom's place in Cambria (an incredibly beautiful place btw) a few weeks ago on a drive up to the bay area and I got to see the book. He only had one copy at that moment and so I was not able to walk away with my very own copy, but I was highly impressed with what I saw.
The book includes chapters on other approaches to the whip as well as Tom's and for these chapters alone the book is worth buying. That said,
Tom I think has used his experience fighting with Top Dog to very good effect. He has thought long and well about the length of the whip and greeting any "succeessful" closes with a knife.
I will be buying my very own copy.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Greetings to all members!
on: August 02, 2005, 10:02:12 AM
Stickgrappler is right.
The staff is one of the most widely used and studied weapons in martial arts around the world and it is no surprise that we see similarities.
SG please feel free to start a thread titled "Staff from around the world" and share with us these manuals.
The Adventure continues,
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Voy a Peru 18 de Julio.
on: July 25, 2005, 09:54:10 AM
Guau a todos:
Yo quisiera agradecer a todos que vinieron al seminario que tuvo lugar este fin de semana en Ica. Me siento humilde que tanta gente viajaron las cuatro horas desde Lima.
Gracias especiales a Carlos no solo por haber organizado el seminario pero tambien por haber encontrado un grupo de tanta gente de buena onda.
Todos los pasabamos muy bien. El primer dia se trataba principalmente de Krabi Krabong y Los Triques y por la ultima porcion dia dia yo di una pequena muestra de Kali Tudo. Por el segundo dia, despues de un sobrepaso del primer dia, entrabamos en materia de "stick clinch", Snaggletooth y Kali Tudo.
Despues del seminario yo hablaba a todos los nuevos miembros de la DBMA Associacion. Ahora contamos con un "DBMA Training Group" en Lima, y los "Lideres del Grupo" son Carlos y Christian. Cuando yo regrese a los EU, dare' los datos a mi esposa para que ella haga los tramites para inscribir los nuevos miembros y poner en nuestro website los datos de contacto para Carlos y Christian.
Voy a estar viajando mas a menudo a Humay a ayudar a mi madre-- por lo cual sera' muy facil ayudar ir para adelante a ese grupo.
La Adventura continua!
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 24, 2005, 11:56:44 PM
Much like a victim of spousal abuse,
The Left always seems to have an excuse
For barbarous behavior by terrorist thugs,
Their violence dismissed with self-blaming shrugs.
Oh, they just can?t help it, they just get so mad,
When we get them upset by behaving so bad.
It?s not really their fault that we suffer their blows;
We provoked them ourselves as everyone knows.
Like a cowering wife with her bruised blackened eye,
The Liberal defeatists just keep asking why;
What is it in us our tormentors despise?
What will gain us some favor in those angry eyes?
It must be our doing that sets them aflame;
Our own bad behavior that must bear the blame.
If we just appease them, we grovel and simper,
Perhaps we?ll avoid the mad wrath of their temper.
Battered wives learn what the Left cannot see:
Excusing brutal behavior will not set you free.
Appeasing these madmen just maddens them more,
Till someday they?ll come and kill three thousand more.
Quit making excuses for these murderous men,
You Liberal appeasers, who?d let terrorists win.
The only sure way to be free of their ire:
Defeat and destroy them; fight fire with fire.
Russ Vaughn is the Poet Laureate of The American Thinker
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Voy a Peru 18 de Julio.
on: July 21, 2005, 08:41:03 AM
Carlos me ha informado que el semario comenzara' el sabado a las 14:00 para dar tiempo a la gente que vienen de Lima para llegar a Ica. Dice que alguien viene de Chile (o fue Argentina?) y que posiblemente tambien alguien viene de Ecuador.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article
on: July 21, 2005, 12:25:02 AM
Your response leaves me wondering if we are thinking of the same thing.
For me hubud is used to develop skill in various tools and techniques: hammer fist, various guntings, arm drags, wrenches, tapi-tapi, disarms, trapping combos etc etc etc
What does it mean for you?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 15, 2005, 12:28:35 PM
What?s worse than crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundations rotten with decades of termite damage?
NOT crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundations rotten with decades of termite damage.
I?ve been away for a while, doing a little thinking. Usually, my thoughts for these past few years have started at home and then taken me to Iraq, and the war. Lately, though, I have been thinking about Iraq, and my thoughts turn more and more to home.
I started thinking along these lines six months ago, after a young Marine shot and killed a wounded Iraqi in a mosque in Fallujah
The ideas behind this little adventure we are about to embark upon have changed enormously since then. I have, quite frankly, been at a loss to know how to put so many wide-ranging snapshots together into this montage, this image, this idea of Sanctuary that I think holds the key to many of the problems we face today.
Stay with me -- our first stop is not our destination, but it is a necessary one. So let me first take you on that original journey, and show you how events in Iraq can show us how to fight and win a much wider and deeper conflict, right here at home.
Now to hear some fellers tell it, the entire idea of ?Unlawful Combatants? came to Sith mastermind Darth Rover in a vision, and he instructed his familiars Chimpy McBushitler and Torture Master Rumsfeld to use it as an excuse to begin the unjustified savagery that is such an essential part of the American character.
Absent from this worldview is?well?just about everything.
During the actual Major Combat Operations of Iraqi Freedom, US generosity and grace toward defeated elements of the Iraqi regular army was in the highest tradition of the US Military, which is justifiably well-known for its benevolence toward a defeated adversary on the battlefield. Surrendering Iraqi regular units were given rations and medical care, and their officers were allowed to keep their sidearms as a show of respect and authority. I have not seen or heard of a single case of anything less than exemplary conduct regarding enemy regular-army soldiers.
So why were the Taliban and Al Qaeda and Fedayeen insurgents treated so differently? Why the hoods and shackles? Why the humiliation at Abu Graib?
It is not because these men shot at US soldiers. Regular Iraqi units, NVA units, North Korean Units, Germans, Japanese, Confederates and Redcoats have shot at American soldiers and upon their surrender their treatment has been, on the whole, exemplary. Why are these different?
It is not because they are opposing us. It is ? to put it as bluntly as possible ? because they are cheating ? cheating in a way that none of the above ever did.
They have willfully and repeatedly broken the covenant of Sanctuary.
What is the obvious difference between an enemy Prisoner of War, and an Unlawful Combatant? Suppose two of them were standing in a line-up. What one glaringly obvious thing sets them apart?
That?s right! One is wearing a uniform, and the other isn?t.
And why do soldiers wear uniforms?
It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier?s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME!
And that?s exactly what a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed.
Now if that?s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does -- the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person ? is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not.
By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population.
And this Sanctuary is as old as human history. The first civilized people on Earth, these very same Iraqis, who had cities and agriculture and arts and letters when my ancestors were living in caves, wore uniforms as soldiers of Babylon. This is an ancient covenant, and willfully breaking it is unspeakably dishonorable.
Now, imagine you are involved in street-to-street fighting?
We should actually stop right here. No one can imagine street-to-street fighting. It is a refined horror that you have lived through or you have not, and all I can do with the full power of my imagination does not get to the shadow of it. Nevertheless, there are men who have peered around corners in Fallujah, and Hue, and Carentan and a hundred unknown places; places where the enemy?s rifle may be leveled inches away from your nose, awaiting the last split-second of your young life.
Most of the time, you do not have time to think. A person jumps up from below a window three feet away. If he is wearing a grey tunic and a coal-scuttle helmet, it?s a Kraut and you let him have it before he kills you and your buddies. But what if he is wearing street clothes? What if he is smiling at you?
For brutal soldiers ? like the Nazi?s those of the far left accuse us of being precisely equal to ? this is a moot point. The SS killed everything that moved. They executed prisoners in uniforms, partisans, hostages and children. They were animals.
Our soldiers are civilized, compassionate and decent citizens doing a tough, horrible job. That means when they see someone who might be a civilian, they hesitate. That hesitation can and has killed them. And some people wonder why enemy soldiers without the honor and courage to wear a uniform are treated less than honorably after being captured by men full of courage and restraint.
Worse ? worse by far ? than the artificial safety given to enemies not wearing a uniform is the additional horror such behavior will inevitably inflict upon their own civilian population.
And it doesn?t hurt to point out ? repeatedly ? that the people they are putting at infinitely greater risk are supposedly the very people these so-called Muslim Warriors claim be trying to protect: their own women and children. Michael Moore has called these ruthless cowards the moral equivalent of our revolutionary Minutemen. I would point out to Mr. Moore that when confronted by an overwhelming enemy force, our Minutemen grabbed their guns, put their elderly, their women and their children behind them, and went out to face their adversary as far away from the weak and vulnerable as possible. These people do precisely the opposite. Our Minutemen fought for Freedom and Liberty; these fight for repression, state torture, and the right to force everyone to behave as they see fit. Am I surprised that Michael Moore cannot see this difference? I am not. The man has not seen his own toes for two decades, and they are a good deal closer to him than the streets of Fallujah.
Do those protesters ever wonder why prisoners of war in World War II movies ? soldiers -- trying to escape in civilian clothes would be shot as spies? A soldier out of uniform, a soldier trying to hide in the civilian population is gaining a one-time personal advantage, but that not the real sin. The real sin is that he is endangering the non-combatants. He is using civilians as cover. He is breaking down the barrier between the armed and the unarmed, the threat and the non-threat. He is trying to have it both ways.
Whenever there is war and invasion, there will be terrified civilians trying to get from one place to another. In the very early hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when we expected to be fighting the same Army that in the Gulf War fully honored the idea of uniformed troops, our soldiers discovered large numbers of unarmed, military-aged men in civilian clothes making for the rear. Many of these men were let through, and promptly took up arms and caused immeasurable damage before blending back into the population.
But they did much worse. Because after a few suicide bombers in civilian vehicles drove up to checkpoints and blew themselves and honor-abiding Coalition soldiers to bits, we have found ourselves having to treat all speeding civilian vehicles as hostile. We simply have no choice anymore. We did not simply decide to open fire on civilians; rather the enemy, in a cold and calculated decision repeated many, many times over, decided to violate the Sanctuary given to civilians to wage war on an American and British Army playing by the rules. They have made the line between civilian and soldier nonexistent. They did this, not us. They did it. They gained the benefits from it, and it has cost us dear. And so perhaps, in a world with less ignorance and more honesty, Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena ? who sped at a US roadblock, weaving, at more than 60 mph and in violation of warning shots -- would be pointing her finger at the people who violated this Covenant of Civilization, and not those being forced to make terrible decisions in order to preserve it.
War is hell, and soldiers have to live there. It is an unbearable burden; unbearable in the sense that not a single man and woman who has been fully exposed to war has ever come back home. Someone else comes back home. Sometimes, it is a better person. Sometimes a worse one. But they are different, all changed in the horror and crucible of war.
And so from the beginning of war, there exists between soldiers a bond that cannot be described. There is the obvious connection of a soldier to his comrades, but there is too a strong sense of respect and kinship with the soldier on the other side of No Man?s Land, shivering in cold wet places just the same, under orders and doing his job, too ? just wanting to get the thing over with and go home.
Surrender is a mercy in such a place. The idea that certain death may be avoided, that one might be willing to simply give up fighting and still survive, is mercy of the deepest blue. Surrendering enemy soldiers are often greeted with a warmth and understanding that friendly civilians do not receive, for they have shared in the misery and hardship of war in ways that we comfortable and safe civilians can never know.
Surrender, in war, is perhaps the ultimate of Sanctuaries. It is a way out when hope and rescue have fled the field. Honorable surrender has never been treated with shame by any American unit I have ever heard of.
And so, when groups of un-uniformed enemy soldiers waving white flags suddenly drop and open fire on unsuspecting, generous and honorable Americans, then the masters of these men have made a terrible bargain. They have destroyed the Sanctuary of Surrender, and eliminated for their own men a deep and abiding refuge in the nightmare of the battlefield.
They have done this to their own men. Not us. We have known of the brutality of the Iraqi army regarding prisoners from at least as far back as those taken and beaten during the first Gulf War, and as far as improvements over the intervening years, we might perhaps call Jessica Lynch to tell us of any newfound magnanimity on the part of the Ba?athists.
False surrender as a weapon of ambush is an abomination. When it is repeated, it is obvious that is not an aberration; it is policy. It is, like the abandonment of the uniform, a tactic to gain a short-term advantage that leads to long-term hardship and misery for their own troops. It is a Devil?s bargain, and they have had the Devil to pay for it ? as have we.
They violate the Sanctuary of the Uniform. They violate the Sanctuary of Surrender. And the most reprehensible of all is the violation of the Sanctuary of Mercy.
Throughout the insurgency, and especially in places like Fallujah, enemy fighters with real or feigned wounds have called for aid. Not often does a soldier who has been in combat look down upon the wounded of either side without horror and sympathy. In places like Fallujah and Iwo Jima and Antietam it is an easy thing to see one?s own reflection in that grimace and that agony.
So when a soldier out of uniform, who may have faked surrender to kill unsuspecting Americans, calls for aid and then willfully kills medics with a concealed grenade? where does that leave us? What unplumbed depths remain? When mercy is used as a weapon against the merciful, what horrors and abominations remain unplayed?
THAT, dear left-wing Citadels of Conscience, is what we are up against. That is what you support against the decency, honor and kindness you mock in your own countrymen as they build schools and hospitals and, indeed, an entire democracy. That is the definition of ?Unlawful Combatant.? It is not a legal nicety, and it is not a rhetorical flourish. It is a pattern of ruthlessness, deception and murder. And regardless of your motive, it is the side you find yourself taking.
These are the kind of men in Guantanamo. Who controls such men? And when busloads of men from Afghanistan and Syria and Jordan and Egypt and Iran, men without uniforms, men not under the control of any officer, men who follow no code of conduct other than an oath to kill any American, anywhere ? who among us with a gram of understanding and perspective can be surprised when such men are hooded and shackled on air transports? And being left to sleep in the open air is one thing in Northern Germany in the winter of ?44, and something else entirely in the middle of the goddam Caribbean! I mean, for the love of God, some of the people screaming themselves into a lather over such an outrage will pay tens of thousands of dollars for the same privilege a few miles away on a catamaran anchored off the coast of Jamaica.
And when people acting on the stage of their own moral outrage wonder when such men will be released, what do we say to them? When Osama bin Laden officially surrenders Al Qaeda on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan? They have no government, they have no command structure, they have no objective but death. That is their great strength, and by God, it is also their weakness, and we would be fools ? absolute drooling idiots ? to let them have it both ways.
These fanatics have been rigorously coached to lie about mistreatment and torture, and despite this transparent fact, every utterance they make is breathlessly quoted and trumpeted by the press as absolute truth. The naked human pyramids, intimidation with dogs, sexual humiliation and threat of electroshock torture that marked a day or two of mistreatment at Abu Graib were the tools used by immature and untrained individuals precisely because the methods previously employed at that location ? removal of fingers and tongues and genitalia, electrified wire brushes, and the rape and murder of relatives before the eyes of the prisoner ? are so far beyond the horizon of what American interrogators are able to imagine doing that any comparison between the two betrays the moral blindness of those making the comparison.
Is humiliation the same as torture? It is not -- that's why the words are spelled differently. To get to the heart of the difference, assume you were a prisoner at Abu Graib, and your interrogator started to remove your fingers one by one with bolt cutters. How long would it take you to beg to be posed with women?s panties on your head? Yeah, I thought so.
This is not to excuse in any way the shameful behavior committed there by a few individuals who clearly are not fit to wear the uniform of the United States. They have disgraced us all and done incalculable damage. But if producing humiliation and fear is now to be defined as ?torture,? what international human rights organization will be appointed to help the surviving readers of The New York Times?
No system built on human behavior is perfect; they can only be good. What's a reasonable guess as to the number of sadistic, brutal and infantile Americans who so dishonored their uniforms at Abu Graib? Shall we say, perhaps fifteen? Fifteen who knew about what was happening, and countenenced it? So those fifteen, out of a total force of 150,000, completely negate the hard work, restraint, courage and compassion of the rest of the American presence in Iraq?
That is not ten percent bad apples. That is not one percent. That is not one-tenth of a percent. It is, in round numbers one percent of one per cent. What is the percentage of of criminals in the general population? A hundred times that? A thousand? Can college professors boast that kind of quality control? Can reporters? And yet this is all the press can obsess about, for over a year...the behavior of .0001 of the U.S. forces employed to liberate Iraq?
But remember, there is no bias in the media.
And by the way, has it not occurred to anyone that during the years since 9/11 there has not been a single terrorist attack on the United States? Do you think they simply stopped trying? Or have we been winning a secret war of information in dark rooms in Langley, Virginia? How many failed attempts have there been to kill you and your family in the past four years? Two? Twenty? One Hundred?
If we cannot use torture to get that information -- and we most emphatically should not and have not -- then what can we use? Anything? No intimidation? No sleep deprivation? No threats? No coersion? No drugs? What are we left with to persuade these killers to talk? The comfy chair?
It is not only possible, but likely, that many of the press elites who consider bright lights and harsh language as a form of ?torture interrogation? are alive today in places like New York and San Francisco precisely because of information gleaned from inmates at Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. I have no doubt of this whatsoever. What would their response be, I wonder, if standing at the funeral of their friends and children they discovered that the information needed to save their lives could have been obtained not through torture, but through fear of torture, or through humiliation and intimidation?
As you sit here reading this, there are men and women working around the clock using information obtained ? not just without torture, but humanely ? to keep us safe at night. They do this without any recognition or fanfare. But there are no less than ten televised award shows each year honoring those who do the best job at playing make-believe, and more often than not, the heroes they pretend to be are the soldiers and intelligence agents and policemen they so spectacularly spit upon the second the camera stops rolling.
We worship the wrong people. More on that in a moment.
There is one final layer of atrocity, a violation of the very core idea of Sanctuary as a place of safe haven that the insurgents in Iraq practice with abandon.
These religious fanatics, who will form a mob and tear a person limb from limb if he (or especially she) so much as looks askance at a copy of the Quran, routinely and methodically have used mosques ? even their most sacred mosques ? as ammunition dumps, staging areas and firing positions, viewing our decency and restraint as foolishness and weakness.
These acts have been recorded so many times that it has become banal. It?s just a fact. It?s what they do.
If they had genuine respect for their own religions and holy places they would give them the widest berth available, not turn them into command bunkers, ambush sites and staging areas.
Here is a violation of Sanctuary written as plainly as the eye can see. They use safe havens -- hospitals, hotels and places of worship -- as military fortresses because they are counting on our decency and honor to spare them from retaliation.
Actually, it is deeper than that. I suspect what they are really counting on is that sooner or later, such provocations have to be answered. And then there will be armies of useful idiots with television cameras and microphones and Expensive Hair, who will rally the full weight of recrimination and guilt and defeatism and accomplish for a few bearded lunatics what entire armored divisions could not achieve for them on the battlefield: Victory over the Americans.
But what has shocked and dismayed me, way beyond the sadness and regret of our losses, has been the willingness, even the eagerness, among many on the left who want nothing more than to see our side lose.
Our soldiers are fighting and dying to install what any sane person can see is a widely-representative democracy, heroically elected at great personal risk. Opposing them are a shadow army of former secret policemen, state torturers, and foreign invaders of every stripe who kill Iraqi policemen, behead innocent Iraqi cabdrivers, and detonate car bombs at the opening of new schools and children?s centers. There may be an explanation for this support I am not seeing. I, for one, can not get past the idea that millions of Western Progressives would rather see a nation re-enslaved, or erupt in civil war, or have twenty thousand of their countrymen come home in boxes than admit that they were wrong.
And they have the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to claim the moral high ground?
I am trying my level best to understand how and why someone who professes to be for freedom for artists, homosexuals and women ? not to mention unlimited personal expression of every stripe -- can take the side of 8th Century religious fanatics who brag about murdering writers, stoning women, beheading homosexuals and instituting moral policemen at every street corner with unquestioned authority to beat, jail or execute anyone suspected of being insufficiently pious.
I used to wonder why civilizations fell. No longer. I see it now before my eyes, every day. Civilizations do not fall because the Barbarians storm the walls. The forces of civilization are far too powerful, and those of barbarism far too weak, for that to happen.
Civilizations fall because the people inside the Sanctuary throw open the gates.
Look around. Tell me what you see. Look at how the entire idea of civilization is under attack. Abandoning the ideas of civilization and savagery is tantamount to throwing open the gates. Maintaining a civilization takes work ? savagery, not so much. If both are equal then what?s the point?
Don?t think there?s any difference? Then here?s a little show-and-tell for you, Scooter:
When Newsweek runs an unsubstantiated rumor about flushing a Quran down the toilet, entire nations erupt into riots that leave many dead and more, likely, to follow. That is savagery.
Trained teams of Islamic murderers hijack four airliners, slit the throats of their crews, immolate their passengers as flying bombs and destroy the heart of a city and worse, and the most powerful people the world has ever known sit patiently trying to identify the perpetrators and then sacrifices its own children to reform a diseased and despotic region with overwhelming restraint and discretion ? that is civilization.
Really, all I?m trying to do here is prevent the fall of Civilization. Now far be it from me to be so arrogant as to think I can prevent the fall of Civilization with a single essay! It may take several essays; in fact, if things are worse than I feared it might take an entire book.
Here?s my thesis: Civilizations fall because they become so successful that their citizens become, over many generations of increasing security and prosperity, further and further away from the reality of the human condition. The quest for ?better? becomes so successful that after a few generations of hard work and ingenuity we have nothing left but the quest for ?perfect.? More and more effort produces fewer and smaller results, because the quest for perfection is asymptotic. Perfection is unattainable.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 14, 2005, 10:09:50 PM
Message: July 14, 2005
Make No Mistake: It's a War of Civilizations
By Ed Koch
The events of 9/11 and 7/7 will dominate the lives of
Americans and the British for generations to come.
Even if no more terrorist attacks are perpetrated against us --
regrettably, there will be -- those two acts of mass murder
will long be remembered. On 9/11, we suffered 2,986 dead
and 2,337 injured; On 7/7, the estimate is that 52 died and
700 were injured. English law enforcement has not yet
determined which group was responsible, although the
speculation is that al-Qaeda was involved. (now confirmed of course- Marc)
According to the U.S. government, the al Qaeda organization
is active in Europe, and other terrorist organizations are
associated with Islamic fanatics who live in more than 60
The various terrorist organizations are overwhelmingly
Muslim. I believe they are supported by millions of Muslims
around the world who are bent on destroying both Western
civilization and those Muslims, Christians and Jews who
believe in the Western values of democracy and tolerance. Of
course, not every Muslim is a fanatic or terrorist, as pointed
out by Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the
Al Arabiya television station, who said, "It is a certain fact
that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and
exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims."
They are responsible for near daily suicide bombings in Iraq
that have deliberately murdered Iraqi police, military
personnel and thousands of innocent civilians -- men, women
We are truly in a war of civilizations. While the Muslim
fanatics do not have us on the run, they have won some major
victories. I count among those victories the submission of
France and Germany to the demands of Islamic fanatics, and
their refusal to stand with us in Iraq, despite the fact that we
are now there pursuant to a U.N. Security Council resolution
and at the request of the recently-elected Iraqi government.
Italy, which originally stood with us, has announced it will
leave Iraq by the end of the year. Prime Minister Berlusconi is
running for reelection and is worried that the Italian electorate
will throw him out of office as did Spanish voters to their
pro-Iraq war prime minister and his governing party after the
Madrid railroad bombings. The newly-elected Socialist
government in Spain withdrew its troops. Poland has already
withdrawn its troops.
The Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe which issued
a statement taking responsibility for the London attack said
after berating Britain for its being in Iraq and Afghanistan,
"We still warn the governments of Denmark, Italy and all the
Crusader governments that they will meet the same fate if they don't pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Here we have it. For the Islamic terrorists, each and every one of their demands must be met by the Christian governments or they will suffer acts of terrorism. Every head of state has expressed outrage. For example, Chirac of France said, "I would like to express the full horror I feel at the terrorist attacks which bathed the British capital in blood this morning. I would like to express to all Londoners, to all of the British people, the solidarity, the compassion and the friendship of France and the French people."
What world leaders should have said is, "An attack upon any
one of us is an attack upon all of us and each of us now
pledges to send 10,000 troops to Iraq. We will not be
intimidated by terrorism."
Instead, they engaged in platitudes.
Today in Great Britain, George Galloway sits in the
Parliament, a former member of the Labor Party, who broke
away, joining the RESPECT party which ran in the last
election. Its major message is to blame Tony Blair for
supporting and joining forces with the U.S. in Iraq. Galloway
criticized Blair after 7/7 saying, "Tragically, Londoners have
now paid the price of the government ignoring such
warnings." Galloway represents the vision of the Brits who
supported Neville Chamberlain in 1939. Blair, on the other
hand, represents the vision of Winston Churchill. Fortunately,
the British chose to reelect Tony Blair in the last election. Blair
understands the Islamic terrorists worldwide are bent on
killing Christians (Crusaders), Jews and Muslims who defy
them. In Iraq, they have killed thousands of innocent civilians
-- Shiites -- who recently voted for a democratic, tolerant
In 1941, when Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor and Hitler
declared war on the U.S. four days later, there were
opponents of the Roosevelt policy of supporting the survival
of a British government seeking to repel the pending Nazi
invasion. Many of them were allied with the America First
Committee led by Charles Lindbergh who sought to use
anti-Semitism to coalesce the country, blaming the Jews for
the world's ills. Under that umbrella organization, there were
Nazi supporters and others who sought to be neutral in what
was then clearly becoming a war of civilizations, pitting
European and American democracy against fascist
The America First Committee dissolved after December 7,
1941, and most of its adherents stood shoulder-to-shoulder
against the enemies of the U.S. and Western civilization.
In England, there were comparable groups and they too
dissolved. Will that happen now in England as a result of 7/7?
Has it happened in the U.S. as a result of 9/11? Regrettably,
Should we stand aside in Iraq and elsewhere and allow the
terrorists to impose their will in that country and elsewhere
throughout the world? I think not. I believe that countries not
yet involved and unwilling to expend blood and money like
Germany, France and others to protect our democratic values
will rue their desertions from the cause of liberty and
In a recent New York Times article, Tom Friedman pointed
out, "The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the
madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a
controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was
sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day -- to this
day -- no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever
issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden."
Regrettably, our "friends" who are appalled by 7/7 are guilty as well by their absence from the battlefields of Iraq where the war between civilizations is now being waged.http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-7_14_05_EK.html
Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: July 14, 2005, 01:40:47 AM
The Mail Memo: A Glimpse into U.S. Strategic Thinking
By George Friedman
The Mail on Sunday, a British newspaper, recently published a memo that
editors claimed had been leaked by a British official. The document, titled
"Options for future UK force posture in Iraq" is dated 9 July 2005 and is
marked "Secret-UK Eyes Only." The document was a working paper prepared for
the Cabinet. What makes the memo extraordinarily important is that it
contains a discussion of a substantial drawdown of British and American
troops in Iraq, beginning in early 2006. Given the July 7 bombings in
London, the memo has not attracted as much notice as normally would be
expected. That is unfortunate because, if genuine, it provides a glimpse
into U.S. strategic thinking and indicates a break point in the war.
It is always difficult to know whether documents such as this are genuine.
In Britain, a steady trickle of classified documents has been leaked to the
press during the past month, all of which appear to have been validated as
authentic. That means that the idea of a classified document on this subject
being leaked to the press is far from unprecedented. There has been ample
time for Prime Minister Tony Blair or his government to deny the story, but
they haven't. Finally, the document coheres with our analysis of the current
situation on the ground in Iraq and the thinking in Washington. It makes
sense. That's certainly the most dangerous way to validate a document;
nevertheless, with the other indicators, we are comfortable with its
The document printed by the Mail contains the following lines:
a.. Emerging US plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed
over to Iraqi control by early 2006, allowing a reduction in overall MNF-I
from 176,000 down to 66,000.
b.. There is, however, a debate between the Pentagon/Centcom who favour a
relatively bold reduction in force numbers, and MNF-I whose approach is more
c.. The next MNF-I review of campaign progress due in late June may help
clarify thinking and provide an agreed framework for the way ahead.
According to this document, the strategic view of the United States is that
the insurrection in Iraq either never existed or has been brought under
control in most of the country. Therefore, security in these areas can be
turned over to Iraqis -- and, in some cases, already has been turned over.
The memo states that the insurrection has not been brought under control in
four provinces -- obviously, the hard-core Sunni provinces in central Iraq.
Given this strategic reality, the MNF-I (Multinational Force-Iraq) could be
reduced from 176,000 to 66,000. The implication here is that the reductions
would begin in early 2006 and proceed through the year.
The memo also says there is a debate going on between the Pentagon and
Central Command on the one side, and the command in Iraq on the other. The
Iraq command feels that withdrawal would be premature. They logically want
more boots on the ground for a longer period of time, because they are
responsible for the reality in Iraq. The Pentagon, CENTCOM and, by
implication, the White House, see, from a distance, a more hopeful
situation. Therefore, a debate has broken out between the most senior
command and the theater command. The report appears to have been written in
the spring, as it speaks of a review by MNF-I in June. Certainly, no
fundamental shift in the reality has taken place since then, and it would be
reasonable to assume that the same intentions hold -- and that the command
in Iraq still has serious reservations but that the president and secretary
of defense probably have a good chance of prevailing.
It has been our view that the White House is not kidding when officials say
they are optimistic about the situation in Iraq. What they see is a
containment of the insurgency to a relatively small area of Iraq. They also
see the guerrillas as split by inducements to the Sunni leadership to join
the political process. The White House does not believe it has the situation
under control in the four provinces, and the memo is quite frank in saying
that Iraqi forces will not be able to take over security there.
Nevertheless, the total number of troops needed to attempt to control the
insurrection in those provinces is a small subset of the total number of
forces deployed right now.
Behind this optimistic forecast, which appears reasonable to us, there lurks
a more gloomy reality. The United States simply doesn't have the troops to
maintain this level of commitment. The United States is rotating divisions
in on a one-year-on, one-year-off basis. The ranks of the National Guard and
reserves -- which, by the way, make up an increasingly large proportion of
the active force -- are particularly thin, as commitments run out and older
men and women with families choose not to re-enlist. Another couple of years
of this, and the ranks of the regular forces would start emptying out.
Even more serious, the United States does not have the ability to deal with
other crises. Within the geopolitical system, Washington reacts to crises.
But should another theater of operations open up, the country would not have
forces needed to deploy. Washington has acknowledged this by dropping the
two-war doctrine, which argues that the United States should be able to
fight two Iraq-size wars simultaneously. That doctrine has been fiction for
a long time, but this is more than just a Pentagon debate over the obvious.
No one would have imagined in the summer of 2001 that U.S. forces would be
fighting a war in Afghanistan, and be deployed in Tajikistan or Uzbekistan.
The United States fights not only with the army it has, but in the theaters
that geopolitics gives it.
The fact is that the United States bit off more than it could chew
militarily in Iraq. The administration did not anticipate the length and
size of the deployment and took no steps to expand the force. That means
that at the current level of commitment, the United States would be wide
open elsewhere if a major war were to break out. The problem is not only
troops -- although that isn't a trivial problem. The problem is the
logistical support system, which has been strained to the limits supporting
forces in Iraq. Many of the anecdotal failures, such as the lack of armoring
for Hummers, happen in all wars. But the frequency of the problems and the
length of time it took to fix them point out the fact that the pipe from the
factory to the battlefield in Iraq was not sufficiently robust. Supporting
two widely separated, large-scale operations would have been beyond U.S.
That fact is of overriding concern to the United States. U.S. grand strategy
assumes that the United States is capable of projecting force into Eurasia,
as a deterrent to regional hegemons. At this point, that capability simply
doesn't exist. The United States can sustain operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and maybe squeeze out a few brigades for operations
elsewhere -- but that's all she wrote.
That puts the United States in the most dangerous position it has been in
since before World War II. During Korea and Vietnam, the United States was
able to deploy a substantial force in Europe as well as capabilities in the
continental United States. Iraq, a smaller war than Vietnam, has, along with
Afghanistan, essentially absorbed U.S. force projection capability. It
cannot deploy a multi-divisional force elsewhere should it be needed. Should
the unexpected happen in Asia or Europe, the United States would lack
military and therefore diplomatic options.
The reason for this is not solely the Bush administration. The forces
created during the 1990s were predicated on assumptions that proved not to
be true. It was assumed that operations other than war, or peacekeeping
operations, would be the dominant type of action. Multi-divisional,
multi-theater operations were not anticipated. The force was shaped to
reflect this belief.
The manner in which Bush chose to fight the war against the jihadists
involved the invasion of Iraq using a conventional, multi-divisional thrust.
The Bush administration took a calculated risk that this concentration of
force could deal with the Iraq situation before another theater opened up.
So far, the administration has been lucky. Despite having miscalculated the
length of time of the war, no other theater except Afghanistan has become
active enough to require forces to deploy.
But a lucky gambler should not stay at the table indefinitely. What the Mail
memo is saying is that the administration is going to take some chips off
the table in 2006 -- more than 100,000 chips. The importance of the drawdown
is that it will allow the force some rest. But it still assumes that there
will be no threats in Eurasia that the United States would have to respond
to until 2007 at the earliest, and ideally not before 2008. That may be
true, but given the history of the second half of the twentieth century, it
is pushing the odds.
The strategic analysis about Iraq may well be sound. However, the MNF-I is
fighting the drawdowns because it knows how fragile the political situation
behind this analysis is. The debate will be framed in terms of the
conditions in Iraq. But that is not, in our view, the primary driver behind
plans for withdrawal. The driver is this: The United States simply cannot
sustain the level of commitment it has made in Iraq without stripping itself
of force-projection capabilities.
Given the fact that it is now obvious that the Bush administration is not
going to undertake a substantial military buildup, it really has only two
choices: Maintain its current posture and hope for the best, or draw down
the forces in Iraq and hope for the best. The Iraq command, viewing Iraq,
has chosen the first course. The Pentagon, looking at the world, is looking
at the second. There are dangers inherent in both, but at this point, Iraq
is becoming the lesser threat.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: July 13, 2005, 12:40:42 AM
"All kinds of hypocrisy remained unchallenged. In my world of liberal London, social success at the dinner table belonged to the man who could simultaneously maintain that we've got it coming but that nothing was going to come; that indiscriminate murder would be Tony Blair's fault but there wouldn't be indiscriminate murder because 'the threat' was a phantom menace invented by Blair to scare the cowed electorate into supporting him."
Sunday July 10, 2005
Face up to the truth
We all know who was to blame for Thursday's murders... and it wasn't Bush and Blair
by Nick Cohen
The instinctive response of a significant portion of the rich world's
intelligentsia to the murder of innocents on 11 September was anything but robust. A few, such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, were delighted. The
destruction of the World Trade Centre was 'the greatest work of art
imaginable for the whole cosmos,' declared the composer whose tin ear failed to catch the screams.
Others saw it as a blow for justice rather than art. They persuaded
themselves that al-Qaeda was made up of anti-imperialist insurgents who were avenging the wrongs of the poor. 'The great speculators wallow in an economy that every year kills tens of millions of people with poverty, so what is 20,000 dead in New York?' asked Dario Fo. Rosie Boycott seemed to agree. 'The West should take the blame for pushing people in Third World countries to the end of their tether,' she wrote.
In these bleak days, it's worth remembering what was said after September 2001. A backward glance shows that before the war against the Taliban and long before the war against Saddam Hussein, there were many who had determined that 'we had it coming'. They had to convince themselves that Islamism was a Western creation: a comprehensible reaction to the International Monetary Fund or hanging chads in Florida or whatever else was agitating them, rather than an autonomous psychopathic force with reasons of its own. In the years since, this manic masochism has spread like bindweed and strangled leftish and much conservative thought.
All kinds of hypocrisy remained unchallenged. In my world of liberal London, social success at the dinner table belonged to the man who could
simultaneously maintain that we've got it coming but that nothing was going to come; that indiscriminate murder would be Tony Blair's fault but there wouldn't be indiscriminate murder because 'the threat' was a phantom menace invented by Blair to scare the cowed electorate into supporting him.
I'd say the 'power of nightmares' side of that oxymoronic argument is too
bloodied to be worth discussing this weekend and it's better to stick with
the wider delusion.
On Thursday, before the police had made one arrest, before one terrorist
group had claimed responsibility, before one body had been carried from the wreckage, let alone been identified and allowed to rest in peace, cocksure voices filled with righteousness were proclaiming that the real murderers weren't the real murderers but the Prime Minister. I'm not thinking of George Galloway and the other saluters of Saddam, but of upright men and women who sat down to write letters to respectable newspapers within minutes of hearing the news.
'Hang your head in shame, Mr Blair. Better still, resign - and whoever takes over immediately withdraw all our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan,' wrote the Rev Mike Ketley, who is a vicar, for God's sake, but has no qualms about leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban and al-Qaeda or Iraq to the Baath party and al-Qaeda. 'Let's stop this murder and put on trial those criminals who are within our jurisdiction,' began Patrick Daly of south London in an apparently promising letter to the Independent. But, inevitably, he didn't mean the bombers. 'Let's start with the British government.'
And so it went on. At no point did they grasp that Islamism was a
reactionary movement as great as fascism, which had claimed millions of
mainly Muslim lives in the Sudan, Iran, Algeria and Afghanistan and is
claiming thousands in Iraq. As with fascism, it takes a resolute
dunderheadedness to put all the responsibility on democratic governments for its existence.
I feel the appeal, believe me. You are exasperated with the manifold faults
of Tony Blair and George W Bush. Fighting your government is what you know how to do and what you want to do, and when you are confronted with totalitarian forces which are far worse than your government, the easy solution is to blame your government for them.
But it's a parochial line of reasoning to suppose that all bad, or all good,
comes from the West - and a racist one to boot. The unavoidable consequence is that you must refuse to support democrats, liberals, feminists and socialists in the Arab world and Iran who are the victims of Islamism in its Sunni and Shia guises because you are too compromised to condemn their persecutors.
Islamism stops being an ideology intent on building an empire from Andalusia to Indonesia, destroying democracy and subjugating women and becomes, by the magic of parochial reasoning, a protest movement on a par with Make Poverty History or the TUC.
Again, I understand the appeal. Whether you are brown or white, Muslim,
Christian, Jew or atheist, it is uncomfortable to face the fact that there
is a messianic cult of death which, like European fascism and communism
before it, will send you to your grave whatever you do. But I'm afraid
that's what the record shows.
The only plausible excuse for 11 September was that it was a protest against America's support for Israel. Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden's statements revealed that he was obsessed with the American troops defending Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein and had barely said a word about Palestine.
After the Bali bombings, the conventional wisdom was that the Australians
had been blown to pieces as a punishment for their government's support for Bush. No one thought for a moment about the Australian forces which stopped Indonesian militias rampaging through East Timor, a small country Indonesia had invaded in 1975 with the backing of the US. Yet when bin Laden spoke, he said it was Australia's anti-imperialist intervention to free a largely Catholic population from a largely Muslim occupying power which had bugged him.
East Timor was a great cause of the left until the Australians made it an
embarrassment. So, too, was the suffering of the victims of Saddam, until
the tyrant made the mistake of invading Kuwait and becoming America's enemy. In the past two years in Iraq, UN and Red Cross workers have been massacred, trade unionists assassinated, school children and aid workers kidnapped and decapitated and countless people who happened to be on the wrong bus or on the wrong street at the wrong time paid for their mistake with their lives.
What can the survivors do? Not a lot according to a Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He told bin Laden that the northern Kurds may be Sunni but 'Islam's voice has died out among them' and they'd been infiltrated by Jews. The southern Shia were 'a sect of treachery' while any Arab, Kurd, Shia or Sunni who believed in a democratic Iraq was a heretic.
Our options are as limited When Abu Bakr Bashir was arrested for the Bali
bombings, he was asked how the families of the dead could avoid the fate of their relatives. 'Please convert to Islam,' he replied. But as the past 40
years have shown, Islamism is mainly concerned with killing and oppressing Muslims.
In his intervention before last year's American presidential election, bin
Laden praised Robert Fisk of the Independent whose journalism he admired. 'I consider him to be neutral,' he said, so I suppose we could all resolve not to take the tube unless we can sit next to Mr Fisk. But as the killings are indiscriminate, I can't see how that would help and, in any case, who wants to be stuck on a train with an Independent reporter?
There are many tasks in the coming days. Staying calm, helping the police
and protecting Muslim communities from neo-Nazi attack are high among them. But the greatest is to resolve to see the world for what it is and remove the twin vices of wilful myopia and bad faith which have disfigured too much liberal thought for too long.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / June Gathering photos...
on: July 12, 2005, 05:19:15 PM
Apart from the fact that we tend not to attract high risk group members,
the fights usually stop when blood makes an appearance-- for the obvious reasons. The seemingly gory shot seen here was done through the fencing mask by a stick shot. We stopped the fight when we saw the blood through the fencing mask and as best as I can tell the opponent had absolutely zero exposure to the blood. The blood you see here is after the man had moved to the sidelines and the blood had a chance to accumulate. It is worth noting that the recipient was not at all stunned, but the nature of scalp cuts is that sometimes a lot of blood comes out.
BTW, I think it fair to call what we do "fighting" and not "sparring"-- JMHO
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: July 12, 2005, 12:30:15 PM
July 12, 2005
The Iraqi Wars
Our 15-year conflict with Iraq.
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
Iraq is a blur now. Everyone from Norman Schwarzkopf and General Zinni to Tommy Franks and General Abezaid is mixed up in our memories. The public can't quite separate Baathists from jihadists, Shiite from Sunni, or one coalition from another. Mostly the confusion arises because we have compressed four separate wars of two decades into some vague continuum.
War I (January 17 to March 3, 1991)
The First Iraqi War ("The Gulf War," "Persian Gulf War," "Gulf War I," "The Four-Day War," or "Iraqi-Kuwaiti War") started over Saddam Hussein's August 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait. His occupation precipitated the American-led coalition's efforts to reclaim Kuwait through land and air attacks. Saddam's complete capitulation was seen as satisfying the war's professed claim of restoring the sovereignty of Kuwait.
But despite retreating from Kuwait and suffering terrible damage to his armed forces, Saddam, like the Germans in 1918, claimed that his armies had been repelled while on the offensive. So he passed off a setback as a draw against the world's superpower ? and thus a win by virtue of his own survival against overwhelming odds.
In any case, we called off our forces before the destruction of the Republican Guard. We also refused to go to Baghdad; we let rebellious Shiites and Kurds be tragically butchered; and we failed to enforce all the surrender agreements. Apparently the U.S. wished to bow to the U.N. mandates only to expel Saddam from Kuwait, or was worried about our Sunni partners who wanted a lid on Kurdish tribalism and Shiite fervor inside Iraq.
War I was a response to years of appeasement of Iraq, American mixed signals during the Iran-Iraq War, and clumsy diplomacy. All may have given Saddam the message that his invasion of Kuwait was outside the realm of American interest.
War II (March 1991 to March 2003)
A rather different 13-year Second Iraqi War followed. Despite its length, the nebulous effort was not a mere "cold war."
Indeed, there was far more direct engagement with our adversary than was true during our half-century conflict with the Soviet Union. For example, after the December 1998 "Desert Fox" campaign ? aimed at suspected WMD depots following Saddam's expulsion of the U.N. inspectors ? General Zinni speculated that perhaps thousands of Iraqi soldiers had been killed in a few hours.
So-called "no-fly zones" took away two-thirds of Iraq's airspace, requiring more than a third of a million allied air sorties. In many years, about every third day, allied aircraft fired missiles or conducted bomb attacks against Iraqi planes or batteries.
A U.N. trade embargo, coupled with the scandalous Oil-for-Food program, starved thousands of Iraqi civilians. Saddam, with foreign help, siphoned off cash and food for his own Baathist cronies.
Despite U.N. inspectors, bombs, cruise missiles, embargos, and boycotts, the second war, like the first, ended with Saddam still in power. He remained defiant, insisting that he had taken on the world and survived every conceivable coercive measure with his petrodollar income and rigid control over the country intact.
War II was a response to the failure to remove Saddam in War I.
War III (March 20 to April 9, 2003)
The Third Iraqi War ? variously known as "Gulf War II" or "The Three-Week War" ? was a conventional conflict. It began with the bombing of Baghdad and ended with the toppling of Saddam's statue. Its purpose, unlike Wars I and II, was the removal of Saddam and his Baathist regime, with replacement by a consensual government.
Controversy surrounds this third war's aims and causes, given the administration's fixation with weapons of mass destruction. Yet the U.S. Senate in October 2002 wisely listed 23 writs for regime change, ranging from fears of WMD, past violations of armistice and U.N. agreements, genocide, attacks on neighboring countries, and attempts to assassinate a former president of the United States.
War III was a response to the failure to remove Saddam in War II.
War IV. (April 2003 to present)
The Fourth Iraqi War ("The Insurrection," "The Occupation") began immediately after the end of the conventional fighting and continues today. It was framed by the fact that the United States would not simply leave after toppling Saddam yet had never really gone into the Sunni Triangle in force during the three-week victory. War IV was waged by a loose alliance of Wahhabi fundamentalists, foreign jihadists, and former Baathists against the American efforts to fashion an indigenous Iraqi democratic government.
So far this fourth war has taken more American lives (roughly 1750 combat dead) than Wars I-III combined, though probably not as many Iraqis have been killed as the tens of thousands lost in the first three conflicts. The aim of the terrorists was either the expulsion of the American occupying forces, the restoration of Saddam Hussein's Baathists, the creation of a Sunni Islamic theocracy, or at least a return to the subjugation of the Kurdish-Shiite majority.
In response, the United States is conducting a multifaceted war to isolate the terrorists in Iraq: empower the Kurds and Shiites; warn Iraqi Sunnis that theirs is a choice between legitimate politics and endless violence and defeat; and promote democracy from the Gulf to Egypt and Lebanon in order to dry up the fonts of al Qaeda that flow into Iraq.
War IV was an effort to ensure there would not be another Saddam and thus more wars like I-III.
What lessons can we learn, other than that Iraq is a Westerner's nightmare ? in the heart of the ancient caliphate, next door to lunocracies in Syria and Iran, with petrodollars to spare for sophisticated weaponry, and with a history of dictatorship as the only alternative to tribal and religious bloodletting?
For all the pundits' talk of "clearly defined objectives" and "exit strategies," in the first three wars we articulated concrete methods and achieved limited aims. Saddam got out of Kuwait (I); Saddam was not able subsequently to attack his neighbors (II); and Saddam was removed (III).
The fourth war is not over, so we are not sure of the eventual outcome of its most ambitious goal, the establishment of democracy. Still, contrary to popular opinion, there have always been clear-cut intentions in these wars, which have been spelled out in advance and until now have been met.
Indeed, the problem has not been meeting the objective, but the objective itself. War I was unfortunately limited to the restoration of Kuwait. Yet the real crux was Saddam's regime itself, which invaded Kuwait, attacked Israel and Saudi Arabia, and threatened to restart banned weapons programs.
War II, in some ways the longest and most costly of the four conflicts in terms of human misery on the ground, likewise failed to address the real issue. The nature of Saddam's despotism ? not just broken agreements, mockery of the U.N., or subsequent plots ? was the source of the problem.
War III sought to remedy the failings of Wars I and II, and did so in the sense of removing Saddam and his Baathist regime. But it too was na?ve in thinking Saddam's rule was limited to a few Baathist henchmen rather than being composed of a large fascist infrastructure ? with alliances of convenience with jihadist terrorists ? that suffered comparatively little during the three weeks of fighting other than worry over a loss of its pride.
If we are victorious in War IV, Iraq will be analogous to a Germany, Japan, or Panama and pose no further problem. If we fail, it will be similar to Vietnam or Lebanon. In our defeat we will give up, go home, and probably not return.
There were always problems with public support that limited American options in these four wars and thus explained why we didn't go to Baghdad, turned to a cold war, and are now facing insurgents from Syria and Iran after a relatively quick conventional victory that mostly bypassed the Sunni Triangle.
During War I, the U.S. Senate almost voted to cut off funding while troops were stationed on the front lines. In the latter stages of War II, President Clinton's critics alleged its hot phases were a planned distraction from his impeachment, while our allies undermined sanctions and embargoes, leaving the U.S. and Britain alone to enforce the no-fly zones. The country was torn apart over the March 2003 start of War III, and has been even more divided over War IV. Critics either said we were na?ve in our half-hearted efforts or too bloodthirsty in unleashing violence against the blameless "Iraqi people."
War IV is now unpopular, but that is understandable because it is the costliest in terms of American lives ? and the only one of the four that was not just punitive and thus not fought in a solely conventional manner.
Creating consensual government has proven much harder than freeing Kuwait, taking over Saddam's skies, and toppling his regime ? especially since all of those previous efforts did not really defeat and humble the fascists, and were confined only to our forte of conventional fighting.
In sum, after 15 years we are nearing a showdown with Iraq, since we finally chose to confront the real problem of a fascist autocracy ? the result of Soviet-style Baathism imposed on a tribal society ? recycling petrodollars to wage modern war at the heart of the world's oil reserves and international terrorism.
Just as there was no third war with Germany or second war with Vietnam, there will probably be no fifth war with Iraq. We have finally learned our lesson: Victory or defeat and a change of circumstances ? not breathing spells with dictators, U.N. resolutions, realpolitik truces, no-fly zones, or cruise missiles ? finally end most wars.
Either the conditions that start a war ? in the modern era usually some sort of autocracy that creates mythical grievances and is appeased in its desire for cheap victory ? are resolved or they are not. Iraq War IV will prove that there will be no more Saddams ? or that there will be plenty of them and the United States can't do much about it.
But at least this final war in its ambitious goal to end the cycle is honest, and so will be decisive in the way the other three were not. If War IV is now the costliest for the U.S. and the most controversial of the series, it is because it is for all the marbles and offers a lasting and humane solution ? and every enemy of the United States in the Middle East seems to grasp that far better than we do.
?2005 Victor Davis Hanson
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico
on: July 12, 2005, 12:15:41 AM
!Hijole! !Otra vez en ingles! Comentarios?
Mexico: The New Generation of 'Revolutionary' Militants
July 11, 2005 20 04 GMT
A faction of the Mexican militant group Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) has claimed responsibility for the July 7 killing in Acapulco of Jose Ruben Robles Catalan, former secretary of Guerrero state. The faction, which appears to be a younger, more militant EPR offshoot, is out to make a name for itself.
The Nation is First (LPEP) faction of Mexico's Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) took responsibility July 11 for the assassination of Jose Ruben Robles Catalan, a former Guerrero state secretary who was shot nine times outside an Acapulco hotel July 7. The group also said it would continue to target those it believes were responsible for the 1995 deaths of 17 farmers in the Guerrero town of Aguas Blancas. Former Gov. Ruben Figueroa, prosecutor Antonio Alcocer, police chief Gustavo Olea and Figueroa's political ally Hector Vicario Castrejon were specifically named as targets.
Founded in 1964, the EPR remained a low-level threat in Guerrero until the mid-1990s, when the Aguas Blancas massacre and other violence in Guerrero provoked expanded recruitment efforts by a new generation of EPR militants to bring more radical members into the fold. Since the EPR resurfaced, its main tactics have been sporadic drive-by shootings or grenades tossed at police stations, mostly around the Acapulco tourist area. One such incident occurred as recently as June 28, the 10th anniversary of the Aguas Blancas incident. The appearance of the LPEP faction and its new tactics nine days after such a lackluster anniversary attack suggests that not everyone in the EPR is content with the group's current status.
The EPR fissure most likely divides the old-guard leadership, whose members are now in their mid- to late-50s, and a generation of fighters in their 20s who joined during Mexico's political turmoil in the 1990s. The LPEP -- which takes its name from a quote by Vicente Guerrero, Mexico's second president and namesake of the state -- likely is controlled by the younger generation. This faction will seek to first increase the capabilities and notoriety of the EPR within Guerrero and other southern Mexican states such as Oaxaca and Chiapas in hopes of making the group a force across Mexico. The group also likely will try to raise its profile in Mexico state and the federal district surrounding Mexico City.
Should the EPR-LPEP manage to kill other targets, the Mexican army likely will crack down in Guerrero, and possibly Oaxaca and Chiapas. This could generate more political violence in Mexico's poor south and alienate other armed opposition groups throughout the area, such as the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas. Regional destabilization on that scale could indeed be an EPR objective.
The killing of Robles Catalan, however, does not indicate that the EPR is capable of significantly threatening Mexican security. Although there were reports in December 2004 that the EPR had been agitating Mexico City slum residents to participate in a larger, countrywide campaign of militancy, Stratfor has said, and continues to believe, that the EPR poses no credible threat to the capital. The increasing violence of the LPEP faction should warrant more precaution from foreign tourists, however, just in case the EPR-LPEP begins kidnapping people for political reasons.
If the LPEP is successful in assassinating another one of its targets, it could garner enough publicity to more effectively expand its operations, perhaps even to establish a base in Mexico City. Until then, however, the EPR and its factions will remain a localized threat within Guerrero, mainly to Figueroa and his old partners.
y, desde Diciembre
The Real Threat of Violence in Mexico City
December 27, 2004 15 45 GMT
Mexico City's governor has discredited an intelligence report allegedly written by his public security chief that links a small militant group from Guerrero state to crimes in the capital. Although the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) militant group exists, and may be proselytizing politically in Mexico City's slums, the group does not have the urban tactical capabilities to engage in politically motivated violence. Mexico City residents and visitors face far greater threats from ordinary criminals and corrupt cops than from EPR militants.
Mexican Federal District Gov. Manuel Lopez Obrador has denied a report in the Mexico City daily Reforma that says cells of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) militant group are operating in Mexico City, saying there is "no evidence" of such activity. Separately, Public Security Secretary Joel Ortega denied that his office had written a 21-page report -- on which the Reforma article allegedly was based -- claiming that the EPR is actively recruiting and raising funds in Mexico City's poor slums, and has staged bank robberies and kidnappings in the capital. Federal District chief prosecutor Bernardo Batiz said "not a single crime" in Mexico City has been attributed to the EPR.
Lopez Obrador, Ortega and Batiz stopped short of claiming the Reforma report is false. Reforma managing editors said the newspaper stands by its Dec. 22 report. It is possible that the alleged report is, in fact, a real official document prepared in secret by the federal district's public security secretariat. However, its assertion that the EPR is involved in violent criminal activities in the state of Mexico and the federal district likely is inaccurate. EPR forces do not directly threaten residents and visitors in Mexico City. The real threat of violent crime comes from ordinary criminals, professional kidnappers and bank robbers that flourish thanks to the incapacity of an inefficient, undermanned, poorly commanded and frequently corrupt police force.
The alleged Public Security Secretariat document reportedly was prepared several days after two undercover police officers were beaten and burned to death in a poor Mexico City neighborhood by an angry mob that mistook the police officers for child kidnappers. The report makes no mention of this particular incident, although some news media had hinted that police officers in the area had the EPR under surveillance in the area at the time.
According to Reforma, the report states that the EPR's presence has been detected in eight Federal District municipalities and seven municipalities in the state of Mexico. The Federal District municipalities reportedly include Iztapalapa, Gustavo Madero, Xochimilco, Alvaro Obregon, Tlalpan, Magdalena Contreras, Cuajimalpa and also Tlahualc, where the two police officials were murdered Nov. 23. The Mexico state municipalities are Nezahualcoyotl, Ecatepec, Naucalpan, Tlalnepantla, Ixtapaluca, Chimalhuacan and Los Reyes.
The report also states that the EPR is raising funds by carrying out ransom kidnappings and bank robberies in the Federal District. However, Batiz emphatically dismissed any connection between the EPR and crimes such as kidnapping and bank robbery in Mexico City. These crimes, he said, involve "common criminals that start hijacking vehicles, assaulting people and then ascend to kidnapping. We have not found any link between these crimes and any armed guerrilla groups.
Lopez Obrador and his leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) are seen as leading contenders to win the presidency of Mexico in the 2006 national elections. President Vicente Fox's National Action Party (PAN) and the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) have a strong interest in undermining Lopez Obrador's electoral prospects. Between now and the 2006 elections both the PAN and PRI repeatedly will seek to bring Lopez Obrador's political star down by linking him to corruption or portraying him as a weak leader. Confirming the EPR's active presence in the federal district could be pitched as a sign of weakness that renders Lopez Obrador unfit for the presidency. This may explain why Lopez Obrador led the charge to discredit and dismiss the alleged report prepared by his own public security chief.
The EPR is the military wing of the Democratic Popular Revolutionary Party (PDPR), a small regional militant organization based in the southern state of Guerrero. The EPR officially announced its existence in June 1996 in the community of Aguas Blancas in Guerrero, where it declared war against the country's ruling economic and political elites and called for an armed Marxist-Leninist revolution and the creation of a centrally planned socialist state. However, the EPR is not a new revolutionary movement in Mexico.
The EPR was originally founded in 1964 in Guerrero, during the early years of the Cuban Revolution. It initially emerged as an armed response by poor landless peasants against wealthy local landowners and politicians in Guerrero state. However, although the EPR has killed close to two dozen people since mid-1996 and has conducted small-scale attacks in several southern and central states against military and police outposts, public buildings and power stations, it has never threatened Mexican national security.
The EPR mainly is a very low-level threat in Guerrero state, where its armed actions have involved local landowners and political strongmen with ties to the opposition PRI, which ruled the country for seven decades until Fox became president in 2000. Its presence in such activities has been detected in at least eight states since 1996. This means it is possible that EPR activists are proselytizing politically in poor Mexico City slums. The group has been seeking for years to establish a political presence inside the country's capital region.
However, the EPR does not currently have the manpower, weaponry, organization and tactical capability to conduct offensive operations against targets in Mexico City. It is even less likely that EPR cells are engaged in bank robberies and ransom kidnappings in the country's capital. Federal and local law enforcement officials in the Mexico state and the federal district are certain that professional criminals -- not armed political militants -- perpetrate the frequent kidnappings and bank robberies in Mexico City. These officials point out that the EPR is a rural-based insurgency, not an urban militant group. Stratfor agrees.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: July 11, 2005, 05:44:54 PM
Report: Radical Kuwaiti Imams Drowned Out in Pro-American Protests by Local Worshippers
From the Al-Siyasah newspaper (received June 6):
"The Imam of al-Jabiriyah preached against the Americans and the Worshippers shouted 'O' Allah, make America stronger!"
"The Al-Siyasah newspaper has received news that several mosques in Kuwait have begun to exhibit a new phenomenon manifested in the rejection by worshippers of extremist prayers expressed by some of the Imams during their Khutbah [friday prayer]. These prayers included invitations to fight the Americans and to become more hostile towards them. An example of this [phenomenon] was when Nabil al-Awadi, who is an Imam at one of the mosques in the southern region of Al-Surrah, began preaching against the Americans in his last Friday Khutbah. As a result, the people at prayer cut off his speech and demanded that he stop talking. Additionally, the worshippers at the mosque of Aisha Shabib in the Al-Jabiriyah neighborhood shouted, 'O' Allah, make Islam and America stronger' in response to what the Imam of that mosque had said during friday prayer about America and the current war [in Iraq]."