The Administration Implementation Of The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Herschel Smith · 29 Jun 2014 · 39 Comments

The setup for this has been occurring for quite a while.  The collectivists on the right have helped the leftists gain strength, but the rate and fury of activity that has been consequential in destabilizing the United States has increased almost beyond comprehension. The long term evolution of America to a position where such a strategy might stand a greater chance of success began long ago with the move towards urbanization.  The flight from rural America was helped along with family…… [read more]

Why I Am A Milblogger

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

Occasionally I receive a note from someone or read something that confirms my hard work as a Milblogger and gives me the energy to move forward.  That recently happened, but more on that in a moment.  I began blogging (and arbitrarily selected a name for my blog) just before my youngest son entered the U.S. Marine Corps.  But after my son’s decision, I began to focus on different things than politics.  I have recently taken to writing about guns, second amendment rights, the militarization of police tactics, the Southern border with Mexico and other things.  But I will always write about the military in one form or another.

It has been a rocky road.  The Milblogger community is a rough bunch, easily drawn into a fight.  So am I, I guess.  I cannot even begin to share the obscenities and ugly names I have been called in both comments and e-mail (some of it over my interactions with and support of Michael Yon), or share the accusations or charges that have been leveled against me (from “stolen valor” because of the name of my blog given that my son served but I didn’t, to violating OPSEC due to my work on trying to change the ROE).  The contact page currently doesn’t work, causing the ugliness to abate a bit.  I have had physical threats (not that I am concerned about those), and one exchange of e-mail with a prominent blogger and writer that to this day, after 32 years in business and industry and 53 years living remains the most bizarre, strange, inexplicable and indiscernible exchange with anyone over anything in my entire life.  I finally inquired into whether the individual had been consuming alcohol, and shared the notes with friend Joshua Foust (to which Foust recommended giving this individual a wide berth).

While the Marines were in the Anbar Province I followed their hard work even on a personal basis.  The U.S. Marines lost just over 1000 men, and I knew many (or most) of their names.  I knew how they had perished, oftentimes, and from press reports I knew how their families reacted.  I wept over many of the lost Marines, and also over many of them who had lost limbs.  Over the years it became so emotionally difficult and taxing that I had to disconnect a little in order to remain sane.  On the other hand, perhaps blogging kept me sane while my son was deployed to Fallujah in 2007.

So why have I done this?  Well, while I know that the standing rules of engagement of the JCS have not changed, or even the theater-specific rules of engagement, I do know that the manner and temperament with which they were applied by JAGs at the unit level was modified over the years in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I would like to think that my work on the ROE added in some small fashion to the feedback to command, both civilian and military.

While General McChrystal’s downfall was his having surrounded himself with adolescents rather than adults, and I’m sure that I didn’t add to his demise in command over the campaign in Afghanistan, I hope that I helped to catalyze the ejection of the Army officers who denied fire support to the Marines and Soldiers at Ganjgal.  McChrystal’s directive was immoral.  But the application of it by officers who should have known better was equally immoral.  In the end, if I didn’t persuade the Army to eject these defective officers, at least I gave the grieving fathers, mothers and wives a chance to express their grief.  The comments in response to Reprimands in Marine Deaths in Ganjgal Engagement are stunning and breathtaking.

I have also been able to make wonderful friends with a man far better than I, and had to watch while he grieved his lost son.  I have grown to know a man whose opinion on Afghanistan (and many other things) I would trust above all others and who has probably been in Afghanistan longer than any English-speaking man alive.  But just when I grow weary of this, someone sends me refreshment to keep me going.  In response to Enemy Sniper at COP Pirtle-King in Kunar I recently received two letters from a friend, summarized below.

I spoke with you months ago but I wanted to attach some photos of the kind of terrain that we had to battle. Granted my unit was mounted most of the deployment but I wanted to illustrate by showing you pictures some of the dismount patrols we did and also mounted patrols. Being on a PRT allowed us the opportunity to travel most of the province so we had to deal with humps up mountains, and traversing one lane roads surrounded by mountains.

I also wanted to attach pictures of what an OP looks. OP Bullrun (the pictures that looked like a bunker) which we manned (I was up there every other week for approx 7 days with a 8 man crew including myself) was a relay station to Camp Wright (or asadabad as some of the saltier guys call it) and also the trip flare if the indians came over the mountain to hit Camp Wright. We were an hour and a half away hump from Camp Wright and we had to rely on ourselves and fires if we came on contact. I currently don’t know if it’s being manned or if it’s an ANA post now.

I’ve also attached pictures that at the time was OP Nevada was an ANA OP across the Asmar/Kunar River from Wright. That was also a two hour hump. Now a lot has changed in two years so I couldn’t tell you it’s current status but I hope the terrain and some of the conditions that you see will further illustrate why in this particular province holding the high ground is a motherf***** (pardon my langauge).

I’m sorry if some of the pictures were “cool guy” pictures. I also wanted to point out that the individuals in most of the pics were my two buddies who I got recalled off IRR with for Obama’s half assed surge. They are [names deleted] from the 82nd Airborne and Spc. [name deleted] from 1st Ranger Battalion. A lot of infantryman got recalled to active duty for the surge to support the national guard operating as manuever elements in RC-East. That’s another story for another time.

I am a big proponent of your blog. I actually discovered your blog October 2009 at the MWR at Ft. Benning when I was recalled to active duty and I was trying to get info on Afghanistan. You actually published an article where my future Squadron Commander (1/221 Cav NV National Guard were the battle space owners for Laghman and provided the manuever element for PRTs Kunar, Nuristan, and Khost) about fighting the taliban. I was originally with 1/221 Cav manuever element that was assigned to PRT Kunar from December 09 to March 2010 and due to man power issues OP Bullrun was originally a 4 man OP. When the boys  went home (I actually moved to Las Vegas from Phoenix when I got back from Afghanistan in Oct 2010 and joined the unit so I can still serve while I go to school full time) PA National Guard and the New PRT took over. Because PA Guard’s manuever element was larger, myself and my three recall buddies pressed the issue to plus the OP to 8 guys.

The reason why we did this is from actually reading your reporting on Wanat, Keating, and various COPs and OPs getting hit in the AO. Because we had increased manpower we made it a point to work on the OP everyday by reinforcing bunkers, adding more C wire and razor wire, filling sandbags, placing claymores with breadth and depth (That was my dad’s advice. He was an Infantry Company Commander in Vietnam with the 101st), getting our Terp fired (we had issues with Claymores being cut and the previous PRT commander stated we needed to catch him in the act but with the new PRT I was able to convince higher to get rid of him), and daily patrols walking the perimeter (we did that to let whoever was watching us know we were active)

Now in terms of OPSEC (Editorial note: In an intervening e-mail we discussed issues of OPSEC) upon further reflection I don’t think that would be an issue because these photos are over 2 years old. From what I’ve heard through the grape vine OP Nevada is run by Americans now and OP Bullrun is an ANA OP now (which means it’s worthless) and apparently Camp Wright is getting shut down in the next 4-6 months.

In terms of losing all the hard work we did to be honest I really don’t care anymore. If there’s no will to secure victory and do it the correct way I see no point in being there. I don’t want anymore of my friends to die because of an incoherent strategy. Myself and countless others busted our ass and we did it for nothing. The only thing that helps me sleep easy at night the fact that I brought all my soldiers home.

And I thank you sir!

UPDATE: Thanks to Michael Yon for the link.

Return To Nuristan – Only To Leave Again

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

An informative report from Reuters:

U.S. troops returned to the area in Afghanistan they call the “dark side of the moon” this week, a remote Hindu Kush region that controls several access routes to Kabul and where the coalition suffered one of its biggest reverses in the decade-long war.

This part of Nuristan province, in the mountainous far east of Afghanistan, could be the target of a planned Taliban offensive, coalition commanders say.

Carrying “speedballs” – black body bags packed with mortars, ammunition and heavy machine guns – a company of U.S. soldiers landed by helicopter on a narrow ridge and trudged up to a tiny Afghan army post overlooking icy peaks and plunging river valleys, as hostile as breathtaking.

With U.S. intelligence pointing to a possible attack by as many as 1,800 Taliban, the soldiers set up weapons over a backyard-sized square, while Afghan army soldiers in camouflage and plastic sandals pointed out fires and torchlight in the distance in the chill night air.

“We’ll get some eyes overhead to check it out. If it’s Taliban, we’ll get a plane up in the morning and drop a bomb on it,” said U.S. Major Jared Bordwell as some of his men from the 1-12 Infantry Regiment dropped down in the dust and tried to get some sleep.

American soldiers withdrew from Nuristan, or the “land of light”, after around 300 insurgents overran an isolated combat outpost near Kamdesh village – below where Bordwell’s men were huddled – on October 3, 2009, killing eight soldiers and wounding 22.

The former U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, decided in 2010 to give up remote combat outposts and shift American troops to protect larger population centers.

But it was through here that the Taliban shifted men and weapons for a suicide assault on Kabul’s diplomatic and government quarter in April, circling beyond the reach of U.S. and Afghan army positions to the south in neighboring Kunar province, coalition commanders say.

Stanley McChrystal managed the campaign for just over one year, what we should refer to as “the lost months.”  During this time the Kunar and Nuristan provinces, and all along the Hindu Kush, were left to the Taliban and allied fighters to retrain, regroup, recruit, and raise support, while he played population-centric counterinsurgency in the cities.  The attack on Kabul is minor and had little effect on the city.  And that specific attack will be small compared to the effect these provinces will have on Afghanistan when the U.S. leaves.  Another way of saying this is that the media using the Kabul attack as some sort of benchmark is both mistaken and frightening.  It will get much worse.  Continuing:

With Nuristan now a Taliban staging post and haven, the province is a vital pocket for U.S. forces based in Kunar, with only a few hundred Afghan soldiers and police over an area of 5,800 square km.

“Nuristan remains for me a challenge, a black hole. My line in the sand stops at the Kunar and Nuristan borders,” said Lt-Colonel Scott Green, a wiry former Ranger who oversees Nuristan.

But he will not be in the region for long – NATO troops are due to be withdrawn from north Kunar by October. Green and his men, who are based in Kunar and in Nuristan temporarily, will be among those withdrawn.

So his reduced-strength 1st battalion has to counter insurgents while simultaneously building Afghan capability and “retrograding” – closing up U.S. bases – all within months.

It is one of the most hostile areas in war-torn Afghanistan in a landscape that is equally hostile. Taliban and al Qaeda fighters pass through easily, from either Pakistan or from bases located out of easy NATO reach inside a 4 km-wide border buffer zone.

As many as 2,500 Taliban are thought to be in the province, controlling most districts, and around 300 are foreign, mostly Pakistanis or Chechens, Afghan commanders say.

The insurgents control what few roads there are and have three ways to move deeper into Afghanistan, through either the Kunar, Waygal or Parun valleys, which then wind down into provinces nearer to Kabul.

It is recognized that the surge was under-resourced.  It is recognized that the Kunar and Nuristan Provinces are currently in trouble due to neglect.  It is recognized that they may not survive as nominally Afghan-controlled provinces without U.S. troops.  So U.S. troops are back – and plan to leave within about four months.

This is yet another sad tale of troops who know the value of the Hindu Kush, waning support for the campaign back home, and non-existent (or never-existent) support from the administration to properly prosecute this campaign.

Later in the report, an Afghan militia member shows up to inform them that the locals were very worried about the U.S. troop withdrawal.  Of course they are.  Command attempts to paint a happy face on the overall picture by saying that Kunar may in fact be okay.

Just a happy face couched in a sad report.

Environmental Extremists Unite! (and move to North Korea while you’re at it)

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 1 month ago

Right now, the U.S. is saddled with more hydrocarbon riches than we know what to do with.  Well, that’s not quite accurate.  Many of us know exactly what to do with them: produce mind-boggling wealth and energy independence and national security for the rest of the 21st Century at least.

But since the mid-1970′s or so, the Environmental Extremists, or “Greenies” among us, have been thwarting every effort by normal Americans to develop and use our abundant, natural resources.   They long for a pure and Green planet that will turn away from nasty, dirty, global-warming-causing hydrocarbon fuels.

What do we do with these mindless utopians and their lackeys in Congress and the White House?

The answer is at hand in this article in Bloomberg Businessweek:

Talk about North Korea usually centers around how the regime starves its people, whether it has the bomb, and if Kim Jong Un is really in charge. The UN’s Kyoto Protocol doesn’t make the list.

Yet under the terms of the protocol, North Korea, as a developing country and a member of the United Nations, has the right to build clean energy projects that may apply for Certified Emission Reductions, or CERs, popularly known as carbon credits. The North Koreans can then sell them to a rich country or company that needs the credits to offset its own greenhouse gases. Dig into data from the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, and you will find seven North Korean projects registered for carbon trading.

***

North Korea is now building seven hydroelecrtric plants, which provide some of the cleanest energy going. Most can earn tradable carbon credits. [Miroslav Blazek, who runs a company that facilitates such carbon trading] says the North Koreans “jumped” at the opportunity to get into carbon trading: “They immediately grasped that this is a way to make money.” Korea’s seven dams may generate as many as 241,000 CERs a year, worth almost €1 million ($1.3 million). “The projects are already in a relatively advanced phase,” says Ondrej Bores, director of carbon advisory services at Virtuse Energy in Prague, who’s worked with Blazek on other deals.

***

When he visited some of the hydro dam sites, Blazek saw workers digging with their bare hands. “Human labor has practically no price there,” he says. Maybe peaceful trade in carbon credits will make the regime a little less monstrous.

The bottom line: Although its initial foray into carbon trading may fetch only €1 million, North Korea has ambitions to be a player in the market.

[Emphasis added]

Yes!  Greenies no longer need to live bitter, frustrated lives here in Gaia-exploiting, meat-eating, pollution-ridden America.   North Korea is living the Greenie dream of eco-friendly hydroelectric dams everywhere, providing cheap, plentiful electricity to the mud and straw huts of its starving peasants!  Greenies can move there now and live their fantasy of a 18th Century society that is literally digging with their bare hands rather than use evil, polluting diesel excavation machines.   Imagine the teeny, tiny carbon footprint of North Korea:  virtually no automobiles to foul the air, the vast majority of the people living simple lives, close to the earth, eating whatever they can find (literally).   A model to the world of “sustainable living” in harmony with nature.   Sure, life is nasty, brutish and short, but, in the minds of Greenies, humans are afterall a kind of virus afflicting Mother Earth.  A short existence is a plus.

So do a small favor for any Environmentalist zealot you know and pass along the brochure for North Korea.  It sounds exactly like the kind of lifestyle that they want.

Changes In Mexican Border Strategy

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

From Tucson Sentinel:

EL PASO – Border Patrol agents might soon switch from sitting in trucks along the U.S.-Mexico border to helping traffic move more efficiently on the international bridges in this Texas city.

This scenario comes from the idea of Border Patrol agents collaborating with other government agencies.

Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher in May announced a strategy to fight transnational crimes and drugs, support Homeland Security efforts and aid U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

One possible outcome might be reassigning Border Patrol agents to Customs border crossings to reduce the long wait.

“Currently Customs and Border Protection needs all of the staffing help that they can get – in particular at our ports of entry,” said El Paso City Representative Steve Ortega in an email.

As Border Patrol agents apprehend fewer undocumented people each year, its mission as an agency with resources focused on deterring and apprehending undocumented crossers is being reconsidered.

Currently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel in the El Paso area of responsibility are apprehending and removing more undocumented people through the Secure Communities Program, employment raids and by catching crossers at major ports of entry than the Border Patrol, according to Border Patrol and ICE enforcement and removal figures.

That is why the Border Patrol 2012-2016 Strategic Plan calls for redirecting its agents’ efforts toward relieving congestion and waits at the ports of entry, as well as combating terrorism and transnational crime.

By the close of fiscal year 2011, the typical Border Patrol agent working from Texas to California was apprehending 17.7 undocumented people a year, from a high of 352.2 “illegal alien apprehensions” per agent in 1993. In comparison, the numbers fell even more for agents in the El Paso Sector, from a high of 470 apprehensions per agent in 1993 to only 3.8 apprehensions by 2011.

More agents at entry checkpoints would be a relief for some people of El Paso.

“People would cross to go to work, or to go to restaurants and enjoy the nightlife.  They would cross to see family and they would cross to engage in trade. It used to be pretty easy to cross and it’s gotten more and more difficult,” said border journalist Louie Gilot.

Gilot is the publisher of Newspaper Tree, a nonprofit online news organization in El Paso. Previously, she covered immigration issues as a reporter for the El Paso Times.

For those who cross the border back and forth as part of their daily lives, long waits are too time consuming.

“There used to be no lines when you were going on foot and now there is. I have spent an hour on foot,” Gilot said.

Analysis & Commentary

The reason for the decrease in border apprehensions is more complex than simply painting a picture of success.  The story being peddled here is that border security is improved to the point that the border patrol can now focus on making cross border traffic even easier and more efficient.  The truth is that illegal border traffic is becoming more knowledgeable and efficient, the border patrol (and DHS) is under-reporting “got-aways,” and “soft metrics” are making things look better than they really are.

The U.S. has operational control over only 13% of the Mexican border, regardless of the stories peddled in the media.  This change in strategy has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to focus on efficiency because of improved border security.  It is part of a larger push for more trans-border traffic which has been in the works for some time.

U.S. and Mexican officials are meeting today as a first effort to decide where new border crossings and connecting roads may be necessary, reports HispanicBusiness.com.

At the first Border Master Plan meeting today at the University of Texas at El Paso, representatives will begin identifying future projects, along with project priorities and timelines.

Objectives will also include increasing understanding of the planning process and designing a process that ensures participation from everyone involved in the port of entry projects.

“All sorts of transportation projects and issues will be discussed,” Bob Kaufman, a spokesman for Texas Department of Transportation, told the website. “It will be a binational, multi-government agency meeting. There will be federal, state and local officials that have responsibilities for transportation. The end result will be a list of transportation infrastructure priorities.”

Representatives from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of El Paso, the Texas Department of Transportation and the New Mexico Department of Transportation will also be present at the meeting, in addition to U.S. and Mexican federal officials.

“The Border Master Plan is part of a national initiative,” said Roy Gilyard, El Paso’s MPO executive director. “California has a plan and so does Laredo.”

Just to make sure that you understand what is happening, read that last paragraph again: “The Border Master Plan is part of a national initiative.”  Nothing is happenstance or happening by accident.  It’s all part of a larger plan to make the border less significant, make it easier to cross, and raise cross-border shipments of goods and products, especially with Mexican truck drivers.

But take note that ignoring the border (or pretending that is is secure) has its consequences.  The Mexican cartels have the capability to seize control over large geographical areas with great ease.  There is the influence of cartel corruption in New Mexico, and Mexican drug gangs control parts of Arizona.  The cartels have become adept at extreme brutality, but these organizations [previously] “settled matters with a bullet in the head. Not anymore … Now there is a psychopathology at work. Some of these people obviously enjoy this, and they are teaching their surrogates, teenagers, to enjoy it.”

Due to the facts that there are no arming orders for the National Guard troops on the border (causing the troops simply to perform clerical duties), misapplication of the rule of law to these troops (i.e., Supreme Court decision in Tennessee versus Garner), and confusion about the Posse Comitatus Act (i.e., the belief that it applies to border security caused by foreign threats), the law enforcement battle (fought with law enforcement officers, and not enough of them doing the right things) has been substantially lost at the border.

This criminal insurgency crosses the border with as much ease as illegal immigrants, and the lack of border security is as much of a cause of the diminution of U.S. sovereignty and security as it is the increased cost of insurance, health care and other costs associated with illegal immigration and the influx of low skilled workers.

The new strategy at the border isn’t without planning and forethought.  It just isn’t the planning and forethought that one might have guessed would attend issues of national security.  It has more to do with trade, facilitating transcontinental traffic, and enforcing the idea that the United States is an idea rather than a place.

Prior:

Border Lies And What National Guard Troops Do

The Border Is Not Secure

Stability Operations In Mexico

The Texas Border Coalition On Border Security

Losing The Border War

Threat Assessment: Transnational Jihadists and Mexican Cartels

Legalization Of Drugs Won’t End The Border War

Border War

Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

North Dakota’s Property Tax Repeal: Straining at the Leash

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 1 month ago

Hat tip to Drudge Report.

God bless the good people of North Dakota.  Apparently at least 30,000 of them decided that they were tired of living at the mercy of local tax authorities and decided to do something about it.

The New York Times gives a brief summary of a proposal to repeal all property tax assessments in the State of North Dakota:

BISMARCK, N.D. — Since Californians shrank their property taxes more than three decades ago by passing Proposition 13, people around the nation have echoed their dismay over such levies, putting forth plans to even them, simplify them, cap them, slash them. In an election here on Tuesday, residents of North Dakota will consider a measure that reaches far beyond any of that — one that abolishes the property tax entirely.

“I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can’t pay a tax,” said Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who have pressed for an amendment to the state’s Constitution to end the property tax. They argue that the tax is unpredictable, inconsistent, counter to the concept of property ownership and needless in a state that, thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling, finds itself in the rare circumstance of carrying budget reserves.

“When,” Ms. Beehler asked, “did we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?”

An unusual coalition of forces, including the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the state’s largest public employees’ unions, vehemently oppose the idea, arguing that such a ban would upend this quiet capital. Some big unanswered questions, the opponents say, include precisely how lawmakers would make up some $812 million in annual property tax revenue; what effect the change would have on hundreds of other state laws and regulations that allude to the more than century-old property tax; and what decisions would be left for North Dakota’s cities, counties and other governing boards if, say, they wanted to build a new school, hire more police, open a new park.

“This is a plan without a plan,” said Andy Peterson, president and chairman of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, who acknowledged that property taxes have climbed in some parts of the state and that North Dakota’s political leaders need to tackle the issue. “But this solution is a little like giving a barber a razor-sharp butcher knife — and by the way, this barber is blind — and asking him or her to give you a haircut. You’ll get the job done, but you might be missing an ear or an eye.”

What I love most about this ballot measure is the way it brings into question every assumption of local governance for the last 100 years. You can almost hear the local politicians sputtering and choking as they consider the changes that would be needed if they suddenly did not have this $800 million to keep themselves employed.   Public employee unions, too, obviously see that the elimination of the property tax means an empty trough.   Although total elimination of the property tax may not be the exact solution, it forces everyone in North Dakota at least to re-think basic assumptions about public services and reconsider whether there might be alternatives.   This is the kind of thinking that America desperately needs today, and not just in North Dakota.

For example, one of the main arguments that supporters of the tax put forward is that police, schools, local government and fire and rescue will no longer exist without this tax money.   But that is simply not true and amounts to a scare tactic, a sure sign of a weak argument.  Elimination of property taxes simply means that government must find an alternative source of funding or that the provision of these traditional, taxpayer-funded services will have to change.   Might there be other ways of providing an education?  Public schools, afterall, are a 20th century creation.   Who is to say that there may not be a better way to educate children without the public school harness?   The same could be said for police, fire fighting and other local government services.   The failure here is one of imagination.   The supporters of the property tax simply cannot imagine a different way of doing things (and have no incentive to do so).

The fight over local property taxes also reveals in a stark way the limits of our actual freedoms.   Anyone who owns real property prefers not to think about the fact that we will never, truly own anything.   Even if we should manage to pay off the mortgage covering the purchase price of our home, the county government will always be there, year after year, demanding ever greater sums for the “privilege” of living on their land.

The usual, counter-argument here is that property owners benefit from all of the services provided to them by the county (fire, police, ambulance, schools, etc…), so it is only right to demand a contribution to the costs.    Setting aside the question of whether a tax assessment on the value of my property is even a rational or fair way to determine my “contribution,” however, there are fundamental problems with this kind of thinking.   What about those who make little or no use of county services?   They have no children in school, they provide for their own protection under their Second Amendment rights and they are more than willing to re-build with neighbors’ assistance in the event of a fire.   Anyone with any actual experience with local government officials knows that they do not improve the quality of our lives.  Just the opposite.   Furthermore, the coerced taxation of property owners entrenches an entire system of “public employees” who have absolutely no interest in any changes that would save taxpayers money, improve quality or find alternative means to provide services.   Simply compare the mindset of a business that must constantly respond to customers’ needs and compete with others to retain business or fail entirely with that of government.

Every indicator around us points to the fact that we cannot continue to follow the same, outdated model of taxation and governance.  Whether the North Dakota ballot initiative is the answer or merely the first, halting step, we had best be about re-inventing the American way of life.

Enemy Sniper at COP Pirtle-King in Kunar

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

From the Chicago Tribune, and this will require extensive citation, but it’s well worth it.

“Welcome to Combat Outpost Pirtle-King. Here we only move around at night. If you must move in daytime, make sure you stay close in against the northern walls, as most attacks come from there,” he says. “If you must move in the open, do it at a run.”

NATO commanders cite security gains, eleven years in the war, ahead of a 2014 withdrawal by most foreign combat troops, but there are still pockets like this, where the insurgent threat is so potent that U.S. soldiers can barely move.

COP Pirtle-King, or PK, is a low collection of rockfill walls, trenches and camouflage net, built to help secure the sole road running through the strategic Kunar River Valley and intersect insurgent supply routes from Pakistan.

But the forested mountains on both sides provide perfect cover for the insurgents, including a persistent sniper whose aim has been steadily getting closer to the handful of U.S. and Afghan troops here.

Faced with the threat of so-called plunging fire, soldiers have adjusted routines to carry out most tasks at night, apart from sporadic daytime patrols and manning a trio of guard towers where guns angle up to point high into the rocks above.

When not filling sandbags and extending their walls or doing vehicle maintenance in darkness, they sleep through the daytime heat or just read books and talk within the dusty walkways inside the walls, waiting to repel the next attack.

[ ... ]

Dushman shoots from somewhere on a green spur known as “the finger”, above curved hills known as “A Cup” and “C Cup”, but only vaguely similar to breasts. Sometimes fire comes from both sides of the valley, from the south and north.

“That kind of crossfire is usually a sign it’s not Taliban, but more likely Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin. They’re a bit more together,” says Danison. “We have pushed them back into the hills though. They used to fire from pretty much right in front.”

U.S. troops in full body armor run across the central vehicle park and any open area to reach their rooms or shift between fortified positions, and use the exposed wooden latrines and showers at their own risk.

“If you have to go, we recommend you wait until night,” Danison says. “Here at Pirtle-King, we’re pretty much in a fishbowl, so we typically operate at night. It just mitigates any exposure during the day.”

In a cluster of small rooms more like a submarine than a ground base, as many as 15 soldiers sleep in bunks stacked four high against a plywood wall marked outside by a target drawn where a Taliban rocket grenade hit but did not detonate.

“Bet you can’t do it again,” reads a sign spray-painted in black. A double-head axe on the wall is called the “Alamo Axe”, in a dark-humored reference to last ditch defense in the unlikely case the Taliban ever tried to overrun the post.

Pirtle-King, named after two soldiers killed at a smaller observation post near here in 2009, is one of a handful of bases here due to be shut down as U.S. troops withdraw from the area and handover to Afghan forces in the Kunar Valley.

Battalion Commander Lt-Col Scott Green says Kunar will make the transition successfully, as Afghan security forces were making strong improvements, including running the majority of patrols beyond the walls of Pirtle-King.

This is simply remarkable.  So here are some questions.  Does the Army send its Soldiers through the equivalent of Marine Corps School of Infantry, where land navigation, map reading, small unit maneuver and other aspects of warfare are learned?  Does the Army continue this training when the Soldier is deployed to his unit (what the Marines would call a fleet Marine)?  So, for example, do Soldiers know how to use night vision, and use that equipment to conduct room clearing operations and night time small unit maneuvers?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then the following question is salient.  Why are the Soldiers sitting in the COP?  What a field grade officer (or staff level officer) should have done for the work-up for this deployment is rehearse every one of those things, and live out in the field for most of the work-up.

The next step would be to dispatch small teams of two, three or four Soldiers (what in the Marine Corps would be a fire team) in distributed operations until the COP was emptied out except for a replacement platoon, until the head of that sniper was brought to the CO on a stick.  Of course, he would need the weapon too in order to do ballistic matching and other forensics.  Then, patrols through the valley should be ubiquitous and non-stop to show the population that U.S. Soldiers do not hide in COPs from enemy snipers.

But then, such a field grade or staff officer probably wouldn’t last very long.  Making time.  That’s all these Soldiers are doing.  Punching their time cards.  And it isn’t their fault.  The strategy is unseemly and even immoral because it places Soldier’s lives at risk to do little more than make time.

Here’s hoping that they make their time and come home safely.  No one wants to be the last man out.  As for this area of Kunar, the sniper will make easy work of the ANA.

ATF SWAT Failure

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

We’ve documented and assessed the various SWAT raid failures, from the case of Jose Guerena (shot to death in a demonstration of utter tactical incompetence by the police), to the Department of Education SWAT raid on Kenneth Wright, to the sad case of Mr. Eurie Stamps, a case of mistaken identity, and who was shot to death lying prone because an officer who had no trigger discipline fired his weapon as he tripped due to sympathetic muscle reflexes.  We’ve also seen how these ridiculous military tactics perpetrated on American citizens are dangerous for the police.

And as we’ve seen from fast and furious with the gun walking illegalities, somehow the ATF has “gotten off of the chain,” as it were.  As if on cue so as not to be excluded from the party, the ATF reminds us how detestable they can be with their own SWAT raid bullying.

GREELEY, Colo. – A Colorado woman has filed a lawsuit after agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ATF, entered her home without a warrant and threatened her and her 8-year old-son while looking for a previous tenant who had left the address more than a year earlier.

According to the filing from Linda Griego, it was on June 15, 2010, when officers with the ATF – as part of the Regional Anti-Gang Enforcement Task Force – violently entered her home without a warrant, handcuffed and pointed guns at her and her son, Colby Frias.

“They had multiple machine pistols pointed at my son. I could see the laser sights on his body and he began to freak out. While I was cuffed I had to calm him down while the officers broke down his bedroom door,” she said.

Her legal action is against the Greeley Police Department and the ATF for illegally entering the home without a warrant.

David Lane, Griego’s attorney, told WND that to this day the agency still has not produced a warrant authorizing it to enter her home. He said Frias continues to suffer nightmares about the events of that day.

[ ... ]

In the months following the incident, Frias was so scared he had to sleep with his mother.

“Here he is an 8-year-old boy, and he is sleeping with mom again,” she said.

In the months prior to the incident, local authorities had been to Griego’s house several times looking for Angela Hernandez-Nicholson, a former resident.

Each time, Griego told authorities she was no longer living at the address and even provided them with information on how to locate Nicholson.

“I tell them to contact social services because she is getting government benefits. She is on Section 8 housing, if the state is paying her rent, they should be able to find her,” Griego said. “I have even seen her at Wal-Mart all the time. How hard can it be for authorities to track this woman down?”

Griego said when the officers arrived on the day of the incident around 6:30 a.m. she was in the shower getting ready for work with the radio on while her son was sleeping in his bedroom. She had just come out of a nasty divorce, and a restraining order was placed on her ex-husband.

“I heard the knocking and rushed out of the shower dressed only in a towel. I went to the window at the front and saw a man knocking on the door, but I could not make out who he was,” Griego said. “I then went around to the back where they were also knocking. My first concern was for the safety of my son, and what if my ex-husband and friends had come by.”

She then saw one of the officers turn, and she made out part of the word SWAT on the back of his uniform.

“At that point I realized everything would be OK, since we had done nothing wrong. I told the officers I had just come out of the shower and to give me a minute to get dressed.”

After getting dressed, Griego told them she was coming. Once she unlocked the door, the officer forced the door open, causing it to strike her.

According to Griego, she was then violently grabbed and yanked outside where she was pushed up against the house and handcuffed by authorities.

“They had weapons drawn and were pointing them at me. I begged them not to go in because my son was in there.”

When they dragged her back into the house, she saw the officers surrounding Frias with their laser sights pointed at him.

[ ... ]

“The last thing they told me was, ‘Well I hope you have a better day than you’ve had so far.’ And then they left,” he said.

Analysis & Commentary

Ms. Griego asks, “How hard can it be for authorities to track this woman down?”  The answer, of course, is that it isn’t hard to track people down.  It requires basic police work, and apprehension can be done safely and without ugly incidents such as this one.  According to my friend, Captain Dickson Skipper of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, most apprehensions can be done physically, or with the really belligerent ones, using pepper spray.  But military tactics have replaced basic police work in America, with the behavior of tacti-cool “operators” justified by judges looking the other way, as if all of this is necessary to maintain order and peace.

With certain very narrow exceptions (such as when a police officer believes that a perpetrator will commit a violent crime against someone), the Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee versus Garner means that the police can use their own weapons in self defense, but they cannot use deadly force as a means to arrest or detain.  Basically, a police officer’s weapon carries no more legal standing than the weapon I carry on my own person, concealed or openly.  Its purpose is self defense.

Yet when the legal system looks the other way and allows this sort of thing to happen with impunity, the lines become blurred and police officers get away with pointing weapons at children.  The implications of this are staggering, from exhibiting poor muzzle discipline to brandishing weapons because they happen to be law enforcement officers.  It is manifestly obvious that an eight year old child isn’t a threat, but tacti-cool operators conducting raids can’t be bothered with such trivialities.

There are those who feel differently.  Having spent time in Fallujah clearing rooms with the U.S. Marines, my own son’s perspective is more peaceful than what he had to perpetrate on that city: “So, you want to be an operator?  Good.  Sign up, take the training, fly across the pond, and do it for real.  If you are a police officer in the U.S., you should first and foremost see yourself as a peace officer.”  When the public outcry is loud enough and law enforcement is held accountable for this kind of behavior, it will stop.  Thus far the outrage simply doesn’t run deep enough – at least, until it happens to you.

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link.

Losing the Forest for the Trees: Drone Strike Kills al-Libi

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 1 month ago

Hat tip to Hot Air.

The New York Times as well as other media outlets are now confirming, along with the Obama Administration, that Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, has been killed by a drone strike in a remote, Pakistani village last week:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Central Intelligence Agency drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt killed Al Qaeda’s deputy leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, American officials said on Tuesday, dealing another blow to the group in a lawless area that has long been considered the global headquarters of international terrorism but the importance of which may now be slipping.

***

The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said that as a result of Mr. Libi’s death, “there is no clear successor to take on the breadth of his responsibility, and that puts additional pressure” on Al Qaeda, “bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever.”

***

If his death is borne out this time, it would be a milestone in a covert eight-year airstrike campaign that has infuriated Pakistani officials but that has remained one of the United States’ most effective tools in combating militancy.

***

One American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described Mr. Libi as one of Al Qaeda’s “most experienced and versatile leaders,” and said he had “played a critical role in the group’s planning against the West, providing oversight of the external operations efforts.”

As damaging as these “decapitation operations” may be to Al Qaeda, we seem to be losing the forest for the trees.

While the U.S. focuses on sending missiles through the windows of every, significant Al Qaeda leader that remains (and each, new one that sprouts up), the war against Militant Islam has long since moved on to other, more threatening venues.  Iran, for example, is a declared enemy of the United States, bent on developing nuclear weapons, but U.S. policy has never reflected anywhere near the seriousness accorded to Al Qaeda, despite the fact that Iran poses a threat that is orders of magnitude greater than Al Qaeda.  Islamists appear poised to take absolute control of the most populous Arab state in Egypt and are actively taking advantage of the civil war in Syria where U.S. intransigence has created a vacuum among the rebel forces.  Turkey is moving doggedly toward an Islamist state that will seek to dominate the region in direct conflict with U.S. national interests.   Pakistan seems to be increasingly in the grip of Islamists who occupy key positions in its military and intelligence services.   More ominously, Europe is increasingly subject to the influence and intimidation of Islamist immigrants who regularly resort to violence to undermine traditional, Western values.   In the U.S., any talk of Islamists or their ideology is forbidden throughout the federal government.

For all that George W. Bush may have gotten wrong during his eight years in office, and in particular with his war planning, he did understand that the United States (and the West at large) was not fighting only or even primarily against Al Qaeda, but against a broader ideology– islamofascism, if you will– that motivated not only Al Qaeda but an entire movement of muslims determined to impose fundamentalist Islam upon the world.

As a last, side note on the al-Libi assassination, we should be careful what we wish for.  The U.S. may succeed in debilitating Al Qaeda’s operation capabilities to such an extent that they will change tactics and resort to the sort of “lone wolf” terror tactics that traumatized Israeli society in the intifada days of a decade ago.  Anyone who lived as I did in the Washington, D.C. area in the Fall of 2002 well remembers how just two persons, acting on their own in seemingly random fashion, could seriously disrupt an entire region.  It is a wonder that the Islamists have not resorted to this tactic in any concerted way.  Let’s hope that they don’t.   But, considering how little strategic thinking seems to be going on in D.C., “hope” may be the only thing left.

Army MEDEVAC Dishonesty And Other Strategic Malfeasance

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

Recall that Michael Yon has discussed Army MEDEVAC issues at length, investigating and pressing and doing so in an unrelenting manner?  Recall that I discussed this issue before, where I pointed out that the U.S. Marines don’t do business that way (i.e., where they leave MEDEVAC unarmed)?  At Blackfive they responded, in part: The Army is the only Service that is dedicated to this essential mission. In fact, other uninformed bloggers claim that the Marines don’t do Medevac.  That part is correct.  However, to assume that’s because “The U.S. Marine Corps doesn’t do business this way” is incorrect.  That is because the Army provides that service for the Marines, Navy, and Air Force.  Just like the Marines don’t do CSAR – because the USAF has the lead on that.  Not because they don’t do business that way (bold his).

In then pointed out that “I never made the claim that the Marines don’t do MEDEVAC.  I just made the claim that they didn’t do it that way.  Matt has conflated two issues, i.e., MEDEVAC in Afghanistan with MEDEVAC generally.  I also never made the claim that the Marines do MEDEVAC in Afghanistan.  But the Marines did in fact do MEDEVAC in Iraq.”

If you carefully study my previous articles, you will find that I specifically state that the Marines did do MEDEVAC with the CH-46 Sea Knight.  I also pointed out that my own son was MEDEVAC’d out by such an aircraft, and that he was gunner for vehicle-borne MEDEVAC.  The case was closed, but Michael Yon comes forward with even more interesting revelations.

One Army aviation regiment observes in a PowerPoint presentation that:

Precedence exists for arming aircraft that are dedicated to a MEDEVAC mission. USAF HH60s in Afghanistan are dedicated MEDEVAC platforms with medical aid-man aboard and are armed. USMC uses CH46s in Iraq as medical evacuation platforms that are armed and have corpsman as crewmembers. Both the USAF and USMC do not mark their aircraft with a distinctive emblem described in the Geneva Conventions.

You knew this, but only because you read The Captains’s Journal, and take note that I said what I said before becoming aware of this presentation.  I said what I said because I know it to be true.  But now for the disturbing part.

The MNC-I Staff Judge Advocate recommends against using the M249 on MRAP ambulances marked with a red cross.  Though not a technical violation of international law, using an M249 on a vehicle marked with a medical symbol would have negative IO implications … to maintain the proper strategic communication plan and maintain the momentum of U.S. forces reducing kinetic operations, the M249 SAW will not be mounted on properly marked MRAP ambulances …

There are other oddities in this order, such as considering the M249 SAW a “crew-served” weapon.  I am unaware of any time for any Marine where it required a crew to operate a SAW (my own son operated a SAW, and in fact, used it to clear rooms and patrol in Fallujah).  Why would the U.S. Army be referring to the SAW as a crew-served weapon?  Do the authors not know better?  But on to more important things.

Take careful note.  This is dated September of 2008, just when the 24th MEU was engaging in intense kinetic operations in and around the Garmsir AO in Helmand, and before the Marines were sent in to Marjah, and even as the U.S. Marines were suffering through Now Zad, losing legs and arms and retaining more trauma doctors than any other unit in combat at that time because of catastrophic losses of limbs and life.

What we have learned in these documents is that the Army has lied concerning the issue of MEDEVAC, but worse still, the strategic malfeasance we have seen in Afghanistan is not so much a function of incompetence as it is intentional.  While the Marines were suffering (as were Soldiers in the Korengal and other places), the official Army position from at least 2008 onward was to reduce kinetic operations, much like the British in Basra (the British eventually being run out of Basra by the Shi’a militia).  Remember that.  The so-called surge in Afghanistan was part of an overall plan to reduce kinetic operations.  Don’t forget that.  Ever.  It isn’t just that the strategy lacked focus, or that it wasn’t clear.  It is that the Afghanistan strategy was self referentially incoherent – directly and internally contradictory.

You read The Captain’s Journal because we aren’t tools of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and we tell the truth.  I would like to believe that my work on ROE cause amended rules in Iraq, if not the Standing ROE of the CJCS or the theater-specific ROE, then at least the way they were applied at a unit level by the JAGs.  There are other areas in which I might have made a slight difference.

If you cannot do that as a military blogger, then why would you write?  At any rate, Michael Yon has made a difference, and at least at TCJ you get the unvarnished truth.  We aren’t tools.

D.C. Police Bullies

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

Presumably, it all starts at the top.  Individual contributors always seem to take on the attributes of their management, and this is more or less true in government.  The laughability index for the D.C. council pegged high when they relied on “experts” at the Brady Center for testimony concerning their assault weapons ban.  I have demonstrated that the AR is a legitimate home defense weapon.  Moreover, I have also demonstrated that the alleged concern over mass shootings from assault weapons is simply a canard.  First of all, there just aren’t enough such events to be statistically significant in the U.S.  Second, the expected carnage fails to obtain (for any shooter who intends evil, the choice of tactics seems to be the use of multiple weapons rather than certain kinds of weapons or high capacity magazines).  And D.C. officials seem to prefer that law abiding citizens simply become victims rather than engage in self defense (arguably, self-defense is a basic human right).

Emily Miller of The Washington Times has extensively documented her travails in her attempt legally to obtain a firearm.  As a firearms owner, concealed handgun permit holder and second amendment rights writer, I can observe that it has been a sad string of tales about one problem after another in her quest.  The D.C. Police Department has supplied demonstrably false information concerning the transport of firearms (it would have been better had Emily called me for counsel), demonstrably false information concerning the purchase and transport of ammunition, and so on the list goes.  It really has reached the level of professional malfeasance.

A more recent D.C. Police fiasco concerns application of alleged D.C. rules for transporting firearms in D.C.  The alleged rules do not conform to ATF regulations for such transport, but that doesn’t seem to bother the D.C. Police Department.  All of these instances of over-reach, malfeasance, ineptitude and lack of knowledge and training are enough to convice the wary traveller simply to stay away from D.C.  It isn’t worth the bother.  But it does show a thematic approach to law enforcement in D.C., and thus a pattern of behavior emerges for the Police Department.

The abusive treatment reached a climax in a recent SWAT raid that Emily recently covered.

While Army Sgt. Matthew Corrigan was sound asleep inside his Northwest D.C. home, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) was preparing to launch a full-scale invasion of his home. SWAT and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams spent four hours readying the assault on the English basement apartment in the middle of the snowstorm of the century.

(This is part two of a four part series on Sgt. Corrigan’s case. Click here to read the first story.)

The police arrested the veteran of the Iraq war and searched his house without a warrant, not to protect the public from a terrorist or stop a crime in progress, but to rouse a sleeping man the police thought might have an unregistered gun in his home.

It all started a few hours earlier on Feb. 2, 2010, when Sgt. Corrigan called the National Veterans Crisis Hotline for advice on sleeping because of nightmares from his year training Iraqi soldiers to look for IEDs in Fallujah. Without his permission, the operator, Beth, called 911 and reported Sgt. Corrigan “has a gun and wants to kill himself.” 

According to a transcript of the 911 recording, Beth told the cops that, “The gun’s actually on his lap.” The drill sergeant told me he said nothing of the kind, and his two pistols and rifle were hidden under clothes and in closets, to avoid theft.

So around midnight, the police arrived at the row house at 2408 N. Capitol Street. Over the next two hours, several emergency response team units were called to the scene, calling in many cops from home.

[ ... ]

When the police wouldn’t accept Sgt. Corrigan’s word that he was fine, he was forced to leave his home and surrender. When he stepped outside, he faced assault teams with rifles pointed at his chest. He immediately dropped to his knees, with his hands over his head. 

Officers in full protective gear zip-tied Sgt. Corrigan’s hands behind his back and pulled him up from his knees, forcing him into a large tactical command center called the “BEAR” which was parked at the staging area. 

Although police did not read Sgt. Corrigan his Miranda rights, they questioned him inside the tactical truck.  They asked the Iraq veteran basic questions about his life from various angles to get him to admit to owning guns. He remained silent about his two handguns and one rifle, which he had not registered after moving into the city. 

Suddenly a police commander jumped in the truck and demanded to know where Sgt. Corrigan put his house key. He refused. 

“I’m not giving you the key. I’m not giving consent to enter my house,” Sgt. Corrigan recalled saying in an interview with me last week at D.C. Superior Court after the city dropped all 10 charges against him. 

“Then the cop said to me, ‘I don’t have time to play this constitutional bullshit with you. We’re going to break your door in, and you’re going to have to pay for a new door.’”

“Constitutional bullshit.”  That’s the way the D.C. Police see consitutional protections, apparently.  The D.C. Police ransacked his home, but there is this one very important statement that sets the tone for the entire night.

Police Lt. R.T. Glover was pleased with the seven hour operation that resulted in finding three unregistered guns in D.C. In his report to Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, he concluded that, “as a result of this barricade incident, there are no recommendations for improvement with respect to overall tactical operations.”

Uh oh.  There’s that word.  Tactical.  The SWAT team that night had “tactical operators” who were “operating tactically,” and it all needed an overall review of the “tactical operations.”  The tactical operators were likely wearing Tru-Spec tactical pants, carrying drop holsters and body armor, and thought they were going to engage in room clearing operations just like they think they have seen on television coverage of Iraq.

With a son who actually did room clearing operations in Fallujah, Iraq, with the 2/6 Marines, I can supply a perspective concerning these kinds of “tactical operations.”  Actually, it is his own perspective.  So, you want to be an operator?  Good.  Sign up, take the training, fly across the pond, and do it for real.  If you are a police officer in the U.S., you should first and foremost see yourself as a peace officer.

That night it would have been perfectly reasonable to send over a couple of uniformed officers (common uniforms, shirts and ties), knock on the door, and then communicate their concerns: “Sir, we received a phone call concerning a potential problem or disturbance in this area, and we would like to sit and chat with you for a few minutes.  May we come in, or perhaps you would like to come down to the precinct to chat with us?”

But with the increasing militarization of police activities in America, this is rarely good enough any more.  But the police aren’t the military, and even if they were, such tactics are inherently dangerous.  Poor Eurie Stamps perished in a mistaken SWAT raid due to an officer, who had no trigger discipline, stumbling with a round chambered in his rifle and shooting Mr. Stamps (due to sympathetic muscle reflexes) who was prone on the floor.  Mr. Jose Guerena was shot to death in his home in a SWAT raid that looked like it was conducted by the keystone cops.  Such tactics are also dangerous for the police officers conducting the raids.

Among the other problems with these tactics is that they are being used as pranks (or even worse) by anonymous callers (see also here and here).  Finally, it’s good that Mr. Corrigan didn’t have a dog in the house.  It has become routine practice to kill dogs on raids like this as a precaution.  Thus, mistaken or not, dogs perish as a matter of course.  All of this occurs while courts look the other way and pretend that it’s all necessary for law enforcement to perpetrate such things on the civilian population.

Again, presumably this all starts at the top.  The D.C. Council can set more reasonable expectations for firearms, and jettison the sophomoric notion that more laws and regulations make it harder for law-breakers to break the law.  Setting the standard for the D.C. police, if they want a safer district in which to live, they can make it clear that gangs won’t be tolerated in D.C.  The D.C. Police Department can then focus their energies on entering gang turf, making their presence ubiquitous, and doing the police work to shut down the gangs rather than terrorize law abiding citizens who exercise their second amendment rights.

But such an approach would require bravery.  After all, law abiding citizens won’t fight back, so it’s easy to bully them.  Going after gangs means charges of racism, discrimination and brutality, with perhaps some real need to use the tactics to which Lt. Glover refers with known violent felons.  So does the D.C. council perform for the people as a show, or do they really want a safer district?  What about the D.C. police?  Do they want to take down criminals or pretend to be soldier-boy and push around innocent, non-combative citizens?


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