On Which Topic:

The post directly below brings up a matter of some importance. We've all heard the warnings of a terrorist strike inside the US this summer. If you have a citizen's duty to the common peace, you ought to be aware of what the risks are.

The SITE Institute has published a translated target-selection manual (PDF Warning). It's worth looking over.

Southern Gentleman, Marine, Germanic Tribalist -- A Different Point of View

"Both the Right and the Duty":

Bjorn Patsson has a note from Houston, TX:

Wielding baseball bats and sticks, a crowd in northwest Houston on
Sunday chased down a man suspected of preying on neighborhood children in recent weeks.

"We know him. The whole neighborhood knows him," said Carlos Gonzalez.

Residents told police the 44-year-old man tried to lure children into his van last week while it was parked at a nearby elementary school. They also accused him of hugging a 12-year-old boy on Saturday while he was wearing women's clothing....

The residents cornered the man in a fenced-in yard near Granite and Bolin until police arrived.

The homeowner called police and pleaded with the crowd to not harm
the man. Gonzalez said the man dropped a bundle on the ground that contained a girl's shirt wrapped around several pictures of small children.

Officers arrested the man when they discovered the van he was driving had been stolen. They found several pairs of socks, a boy's T-shirt and a pair of girl's underwear inside the vehicle.

Though arrested for car theft, detectives were attempting to determine if he had been under investigation on child molestation or related charges.

Outstanding. But what to make of the police's rather bureaucratic response?
While nobody was hurt during Sunday's pursuit, officers said residents shouldn't take the law into their own hands.

"You need to call law enforcement and let us handle that," said
Houston police officer S.A. Burk.

Actually, "the law" says specifically that citizens may arrest suspected felons and hold them for peace officers. This is called a "citizen's arrest," and it has roots as deep as the Anglo-Saxon legal system that predates the Norman Conquest. Far from 'taking the law into your own hands,' this is merely doing your duty as a citizen:
Historically, in Anglo Saxon law in medieval England citizen's arrests were an important part of community law enforcement. Sheriffs encouraged and relied upon active participation by able bodied persons in the towns and villages of their jurisdiction. From this legacy originated the concept of the posse comitatus which is a part of the United States legal tradition as well as the English. In medieval England, the right of private persons to make arrests was virtually identical to the right of a sheriff and constable to do so. (See Inbau and Thompson, Criminal Procedure, The Foundation Press, Mineola, NY 1974.

A strong argument can be made that the right to make a citizen's arrest is a constitutionally protected right under the Ninth Amendment as its impact includes the individual's natural right to self preservation and the defense of the others. Indeed, the laws of citizens arrest appear to be predicated upon the effectiveness of the Second Amendment. Simply put, without firepower, people are less likely going to be able to make a citizen's arrest. A random sampling of the various states as well as the District of Columbia indicates that a citizen's arrest is valid when a public offense was committed in the presence of the arresting private citizen or when the arresting private citizen has a reasonable belief that the suspect has committed a felony, whether or not in the presence of the arresting citizen.

In the most crime ridden spot in the country, our nation's capitol, District of Columbia Law 23- 582(b) reads as follows:

(b) A private person may arrest another -

(1) who he has probable cause to believe is committing in his presence -

(A) a felony, or

(B) an offense enumerated in section 23-581 (a)(2); or

(2) in aid of a law enforcement officer or special policeman, or other person authorized by law to make an arrest.

(c) Any person making an arrest pursuant to this section shall deliver the person arrested to a law enforcement officer without unreasonable delay. (July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 630, Pub. L. 91-358, Title II, ss. 210(a); 1973 Ed., ss. 23-582; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law 7-104, ss. 7(e), 35 DCR 147.)

In Tennessee, it has been held that a private citizen has the right to arrest when a felony has been committed and he has reasonable cause to believe that the person arrested committed it. Reasonable grounds will justify the arrest, whether the facts turn out to be sufficient or not. (See Wilson v. State, 79 Tenn. 310 (1833).

Contrast this to Massachusetts law, which while permitting a private person to arrest for a felony, permits those acquitted of the felony charge to sue the arresting person for false arrest or false imprisonment. (See Commonwealth v. Harris, 11 Mass. App. 165 (1981))

Kentucky law holds that a person witnessing a felony must take affirmative steps to prevent it, if possible. [The Official Code of Georgia, Annotated, says the same thing: this is "both the right and the duty" of the citizen--Grim] (See Gill v. Commonwealth, 235 KY 351 (1930.)

Indeed, Kentucky citizens are permitted to kill fleeing felons while making a citizen's arrest (Kentucky Criminal Code ss. 37; S 43, §44.) [Aside: Georgia's law permits citizens to use the same degree of force as peace officers in making arrests. Neither are permitted, however, to shoot fleeing suspects in the back.--Grim]

Utah law permits citizen's arrest, but explicitly prohibits deadly force. (See Chapter 76-2-403.)

Making citizen's arrest maliciously or without reasonable basis in belief could lead to civil or criminal penalties. It would obviously be a violation of a suspect's civil rights to use excessive force, to torture, to hold in unsafe or cruel conditions or to invent a reason to arrest for the ulterior motive of settling a private score.

Civil lawsuits against department stores, police departments, and even cult deprogrammers for false imprisonment are legend. Anybody who makes a citizens arrest should not use more force than is necessary, should not delay in turning the suspect over to the proper authorities, and should never mete out any punishment ... unless willing to face the consequences.

As the ability of the powers that be to hold society together and preserve law and order diminishes, citizen's arrests will undoubtedly be more common as a way to help communities cope with the wrongdoers in out midst.

Attempting to protect and defend the common peace is both the right and the duty of a citizen. The important thing is to make certain that you are aware of the specifics of your own state's laws on the subject, and to act in accord with them.


Doc Russia has a piece today on US Marines as The Terminator. Apparently a 155mm shell used against the Marines produced no casualties, and didn't even seriously interrupt the patrol:

Now, I don't know about you, but I think that that has got to be seriously intimidating. Think about it; Abdul and Ahmed find themselves a 155mm arty shell, and bury it in a street with a remote detonator. They wait for a long time for the Americans to show up. Eventually, sure enough, here comes a squad of Marines down the road. Here is their chance. It's their chance to shake the Americans up that much more. They know that Americans don't have a stomach for war (or so CNN would let them think). So....BAM!

Shell goes off. Marines react instantly, and set up a perimeter, ready to cut loose like the wrath of God. Nothing. Abdul and Ahmed have already fled like the cowards they are, and are surely patting themselves on the back for the damage they have done.

The next day, Abdul and Ahmed are sitting around their coffees smug in their cowardly attack, when what do they see; Marines. AGAIN. and as they draw closer, Ahmed and Abdul get that ugly sinking feeling in their guts when they realize that these Marines are the same ones from yesterday- bloody fatigues and all.

Somewhere inside Abdul and Ahmed start screaming because nothing human could have survived that IED,
.......and they are afraid that nothing human did.

Pone tuas armas!

Belmont Club

Wedding Party:

Belmont Club has a letter from a friend:

These people are members of a clan well known in Anbar province. They are supposedly "shepherds" but they are really more like livestock owners. The herds are large and the business is profitable. After the spring rains end, and they just did, these people and other clans like them follow the herds through the desert. They pick that time because the grazing is better. Along the way they have small houses in oases which serve as something between camps and residences.

They are also into smuggling. Mainly they smuggle livestock into Syria where the prices are better. Do they bring back guns and people? Probably. And it can’t be ruled out they may have been hired to slip some Syrians into the country. Whole families join this migration. And they do get married.

This afternoon a very popular Baghdad wedding singer was buried -- his family and the survivors say he was entertaining at the wedding. The reason so many women and children died is that as is tradition, the women and children sleep together, the men apart often in tents watching the stock.

Some of the people there had traveled from Ramadi for the wedding just as people travel to attend weddings anywhere. There's a romance in Arab culture about the desert. Some Americans get married by lakes or in mountains. The reason they returned to Ramadi, 250 miles away, is because that's the clan's base. And having been out there, there's very little between Ramadi and the Syrian-Jordanian border except a mosque-rest stop and Rutba. The US had Rutba sealed off.

They weren’t seeking medical attention. They brought the victims home to bury them in their version of [our family] cemetery. Ramadi is the "home" of all members of the Bou Fahad clan, which is the one of all the victims. There were at least a dozen children killed. One was decapitated. One little girl about [my granddaughter]'s age had holes all over her legs...and in her chest. One boy was missing half his face. Quite a place, Iraq.

If the wedding party victims are lying, they may be failing to mention that XXX-number of Syrian fighters were camped 100 meters down the road, or that they had rented the place to fighters two days before or something like that. My experience in these things has been that people wouldn’t be faking the deaths of their wives and children.

The accounts remain confusing after several days. Both sides are asserting their stories without relenting on any point, and both sides have presented visual evidence in their favor. It seems odd to give smugglers in al-Anbar an equal expectation of truth-telling with US General officers; on the other hand, the smugglers were there, the Generals weren't, and the visual evidence isn't decisive.

It is starting to look like the truth falls somewhere close to what this letter-writer describes: a desert camp, used by smugglers and livestock-traders, was also housing foreign fighters moving through to join the Iraqi insurgency. The attack appears to have been a carefully considered raid rather than a simple airstrike, which is suggestive that the site had been watched for a while beforehand by someone like the Special Forces, CIA SOG, or Marine Recon. Given the confident statements by US command elements, they probably filed equally confident reports requesting the raid, which targeted "two of twenty five structures in the village of Mukhradeeb by the Syrian border... [with] a combination of aerial ordnance, infantry assault and finally demolition charges."

If that is correct, what was not understood was the degree to which the camp was being used by desert clans, and not just insurgents. It is in some ways unsurprising that surveillence would not reveal that. We know that the tribal cultures in particular go out of their way to make women invisible and cloistered, which would drastically cut down on the ability of our spotters to get a sense of families being in the compound. What you could plausibly see from a hide site would be lots of men moving around; you should be able to ID the types of heavy weapons, if they were exposed to view at any point.

If they had that, plus some local intel that suggested this camp was being used to insert foreign fighters, that would be enough to justify the raid on military grounds. If the cultural predisposition to keeping the women hidden and indoors caused the recon team not to be aware that there were lots of women and children in camp, that's a tragedy but not an atrocity--a tragedy in which the tribesmen carry most of the blame, for having chosen to take money to smuggle in foreign fighters and weapons.

The US military is at fault only for not being able to see through walls, as they certainly would not have attacked a building full of women and kids if they had realized what was in it. We know the raid was discriminate because it attacked only the two structures in the camp. At last, there's little to do--assuming this overview is roughly correct--except to pay the diaya for the dead, and warn the tribes sternly against aiding our enemies. The only certain way to avoid such tragedies, in a culture that hides its women and girls, is not to allow your camp to be used by the enemy.

Photos from Syrian border

Syrian Border Photos:

Multinational Corps Iraq has released this series of photos of material captured in the attack on the Syrian border. It includes a number of weapons, including .30 caliber machineguns and RPGs; passports from the Sudan and elsewhere; what appear to be drugs and needles; and cash.


A Letter:

A letter home from a US Marine. Thanks to JHD, as usual.

Dad -

You probably heard that Mike was wounded this week.  We take rockets and mortars from time to time and he got caught outside when a rocket came in.  He was lucky as he only got hit with some shrapnel in the back of the head.  Grateful that it was only a flesh wound.  He was medivaced to a surgical unit.  I got word that he was going to be medevaced to the surgical unit on my camp and went by that evening looking for him only to find out he went to a different treatment facility. They put some staples in his head and he hopped a helo to return to his camp and was back at work that night.   He is a tough guy.  In fact, I actually saw him yesterday as I had to go to his position for some business.  It is always a quietly thankful moment when you see a guy who has been wounded or who you think was wounded and he turns out to be ok.  Mike was actually embarrassed about the whole thing and shrugged off any mention of it as he feels like he is not "doing enough" right now. 

We only were able to talk for a short time and I swear that within a few minutes I had forgotten about the whole thing until we shook hands when I had to go.  He turned to leave and I saw the zipper of staples on the back of his head.  He was going back to work.

You would be very proud of the Marines as they have been able to switch gears from intense offensive operations back to what we call "stability operations."  Stability operations simply translates to getting out into the countryside and teaching Iraqi Police and soldiers how to do their jobs.  More importantly, our priority is just making contact with them and trying to instill a sense of confidence and pride in what they are doing.  As I have shared with you over the past 15 months or so, it is hard to imagine trying to establish a police force or "national guard" (the equivalent of what we are working with) out of a population that has never even seen such entities as we understand them.  If you said National Guard in Missouri, most people would think "the guys who show up when there is a flood, blizzard or tornado to help people."  Or maybe after 9/11, that guy at the drug store who left for Iraq for a year as part of an engineer unit. 

Here, they simply have no paradigm of what such a force is.  We have to sit down and go over the most basic principles of protecting the people by being there to help when there is a crisis on one hand and getting out on night ambush to keep the muj out of the village on the other.  As a whole they did disintegrate or worse during the April fighting.  I have heard a lot of false exaggeration about the fact that the Iraqi Army would not stand and fight with the Marines in Falluja or the Army in Baghdad.  Nonsense. 

I could tell you stories of individual heroics of Iraqi soldiers.  One specific example is of an Iraqi SgtMaj who came into our lines during the first days of fighting in Falluja.  He made his way through the mujahadeen and risked being killed by us to tell us that he was concerned about the ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defense Corps) armory in town.  He knew it was only a matter of time until the muj went for the armory to take the weapons.  Honestly, I would have thought that they had already done it as the police stations and every other good piece of ground seemed to be occupied by the muj by that time.  In short, he wanted to let us know that he was going back into the town to get the weapons.  The Marines asked him if he wanted us to help.  No.  He only wanted us to take the weapons from him when he came back through.  This guy took a couple young Iraqi soldiers with a truck and drove back through our lines into the hornets nest of Falluja.  He went to the armory, emptied the weapons and ammo stored there and brought it back out through the fighting to us.  We expected him to want to stay with us or to move on to Baghdad or some other safe area.  He refused and stated that he was going back into the city as that was where his duty was.  Not a coward by even the most cynical standard.

We had a group that showed up shortly thereafter.  You have probably heard about them as they came out of Baghdad and on the way were ambushed a couple of times.  By the time they made it here only 200 of 700 were in their ranks.  I know that the public story is that they folded after a couple of days of fighting and disintegrated.  They actually made it through three days of fighting.  Not just taking a few rounds, they held through accurate machine gun fire, mortars and multiple assaults.  They also moved forward and occupied positions on the Marines' flanks.  After three days, we pulled them out.  The Marines will tell you that they did a hell of a job. 

The Marine Corps has been around for 230 years.  We have many battles and history under our belts that instills in the Marines a profound sense of duty and tradition.  Further, the culture has made peer pressure into a positive art form.  Words like "selflessness" are not only used but are taught to every recruit.  Show me another place in our society where a 20 year old guy worries more about letting his buddy down than his own well-being.  This is true across the board.  There are probably a few other places left that instill this but not too many where it holds together when the rubber meets the road.

The Iraqis had none of this going into Falluja.  In fact they had and continue to have just the opposite.  They live in a world of terror.  For decades, Sadaam played one neighbor against another, one tribe against another, one sect of Islam against another and one race against another.  Therefore there is never a sense of safety to the Iraqis even within their own tribes.  Here if you join the police or the army, you are eventually approached by the terrorists and threatened.  If they think you are a leader, they tell you that they will kill you and your family.  The orders are simple, look the other way when you are on duty and leave when the terrorist show up.  If you don't they will kill you and probably your family.

Imagine that young guy who joins the ICDC or police.  He may be somewhat of an idealist when he gets out of our initial training but when he shows up to his unit, the muj have already infiltrated it and immediately make it clear that there is no hope of survival if he does not do exactly what they say.  For good measure and effect, they regularly assassinate Iraqi policemen and soldiers just to make it clear that they will kill them on a whim.  The guys that were in place prior to April lived in that world.  We are working against it still.  Without the tradition and culture of the Marine Corps and constantly thinking that their very presence next to us may get their families killed, I am amazed they made it for an hour much less than three days.  We decided to pull them because this place needs young patriots.  It does not need us to put them into a position where they will be ground down in intense combat or maybe to be killed when it is over.  Hopefully they can be a nucleus for tomorrow's leaders.  Time will tell.

We are back at it with the police and ICDC.  With us are retired police officers from the US and other civilians who are trying to contribute.  Police forces back in California are sending us equipment and expertise on training.  The lesson that we have learned for this iteration is for us to focus first and foremost on our true strength and that is the character and decency of our Marines.  Force of personality and personal example are more important to us right now leading up to the ineivitable violence this summer than the right radio for the Iraqis.  For what it is worth, I think that is the right approach.  If we demonstrate the best aspects of the Marines who they see every day, we are giving the young Iraqi men something that can never be taken from them.  They are seeing the best part of a free people.  Hopefully the lights will go on.

The enemy is confused right now.  He goes to bed convinced he is going to win because he watches the Al Jazeera and then the US media and believes that we are a weak willed people who can be terrorized and who have a penchant for self-loathing.  Then, he wakes up and he comes across a coalition check point and he sees a young Soldier or Marine who stands there like a rock and exudes strength and conviction.  The same terrorist who was in the mosque the night before in a frenzy is now subjugated by the presence of a guy who does not match up with what he has been told and sees on TV.  It must be confusing as all get out.  Every day, he will continue to see in three dimensions the best that our society has to offer and their is no amount of sound bites that will trump that in the end.

In another email, I will share with you what I think is going to happen this summer.  It will be a tough pull.  However, we are prepared.  We get reports of impending muj attacks on Marine positions and I am amazed at the universal response - "Good, that means we don't have to try to find them tonight."  There is plenty of fight left in the guys.  On a lighter note, the Iraqi people are coming back more and more to approach the Marines.  When they are in private, they regularly tell us that we cannot leave and that they "need" us to stay.  Of course they cannot say that publicly for reasons above.

I will close with something that was on my mind this morning when I punished myself by watching CBS news.  I saw the anchor come on and just before he spoke, I told my rack mate "Lets see what the opening line is going to be...."  Sure enough before he said anything else, he said "It just keeps getting worse and worse...."  Yes, he was talking about Iraq.  Honest to God we laughed at him.  I'm not kidding.  It is getting to the point where the Marines are getting past their anger at the talking heads and are laughing.  To really get a rise out of them, requires a retired military officer who betrays his oath and stokes the fear mongering.

Do you remember when I came back last fall and people would ask about WMD and I would say that I did not care if we ever found any?  The day we found the mass grave is vivid to me still.  We found it up near the Iranian boarder.  Very quickly people came from miles and miles away.  We stood and watched the family members digging up bones and clutching remains as they sat in the dirt, rocked back and forth and cried.  They were adamant that we should come over and look as they dug them up.  Every single body had its hands and feet wired together with ROMEX.  Each skull had a bullet hole in it except for a few that were smashed with a club or rifle butt.  There were clearly men but also women and children.  The grave never made the news as there were no media with us and it was small by Iraq standards.  One detail that I found particularly outrageous was that the assassins left the identifications on the bodies as if they were so arrogant that it never occured that someday, someone would dig up the bodies and hold them accountable.  I will never forget it.

That memory is vivid and relevant to me today as I feel like I was blessed to have been there and see it personally.  To the people that cry that we should leave Iraq because we came here for the wrong reasons I would say "I don't care."  Honestly, if I found out tomorrow that everyone in government knowingly lied and brought us here because Iraq grows the best sunflower seeds in the world it would not matter to me.  We liberated a people from a regime that will go down in history as one of the most brutal ever.  That would be enough.

However, we are now in a life and death struggle with an enemy who wants nothing more for us to leave so that they can bring their own brand of terror to the same people.  Our biggest failings have been that, as a coalition, we have not been able to overcome our own-ham handed actions and horrible mistakes/crimes and simply convince the Iraqi people that we do in fact want to leave them a free and prosperous country where there is hope.  The most successful way to do that is to continue to go out and show them every day and not to cut and run.  And you know what?  It is working.  People are coming to us and talking to us even in the face of Abu Garayb and in the real threat of their own death. 

Inside this country right now, there are extremists who have set up courts where in one room,  they try Iraqis and in the next they kill them minutes later.  Not fantasy - reality.  Again, the death sentence?  Accepting payment for damage we have done in fighting or in an accident.  Taking a job working on a coalition base.  Having a brother who has done his job in the police or ICDC.

Are people so naive as to think that if we left, things would get better?  The country would implode and thousands of people would be killed.  When the dust settled, a more dangerous Iraq would emerge and we would be even more hated throughout the world.  It is that simple.  We came here to help these people and at the same time to make the world a safer place for free people everywhere.  If we leave too early, the people will suffer horribly and the world will have taken one giant step backward.  Maybe we are slow on the uptake but it is pretty clear here what the right thing to do is and it is not to abandon the people to the terrorists.

I understand that some people are simply frightened by the violence - for good reason.  To them I would say, hang in there.  I see people every hour of every day that make me sure we are strong enough to be successful.  To people that say our agenda is anything other than what I have written, I say that it does not matter because the young men and women doing the heavy lifting are doing it for the right reason and at the end of the day, the Iraqi people will benefit.  They may never like us while we are here as there are thousands of years of culture that separate us.  The fact that we are not popular does not change our moral obligation.

Please tell everyone that we are now bathing in coffee and loving it.  I got on the Greenside yesterday. I sincerely appreciate the well wishes and share them with the guys (along with the coffee).  I also appreciate the hopes that I keep my limbs as that lines right up with my own goals as well.  If I could ask anything about the website, my guess is that people go to it to find out what is really happening.  They also probably read the message board to be reassured that other people are holding the line.  Regardless of what is posted there that may seem negative, please refrain from insulting someone who voices their opinion.  Of course, if someone really gets froggy they are more then welcomed to go to boot camp, earn their ticket over here and put their money where their mouth is. 



Southern Appeal

Indian Elections:

Irony abounds: one of the best quick summaries I've seen of the fallout from India's recent election comes from Southern Appeal, that collection of gentleman lawyers from Alabama. They are normally a good source for US legal commentary, but apparently their interests are wider than I suspected. Well done.

Marine Corps News> Marines capture, destroy large Iraqi insurgents' weapons stockpiles


I've been eaten alive between work (who knew a Datuk was a kind of Malaysian knight?) and the move. However, our faithful spotter JHD has been keeping my in-box full of updates from the front. Take a look at these captured weapons, which were reportedly found via local intel. He sends also a pair of stories on USMC small boats. Seems like a pretty good gig to me, no pun intended.