Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 8, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE MODERN FACE OF TERRORISM....Federal authorities have arrested six men who were plotting to kill American soldiers at Ft. Dix in New Jersey. From the Washington Post:

Charging document filed in federal court in Camden yesterday portray an ambitious and cold-blooded — but somewhat bungling — cadre who hoped to kill at least 100 soldiers, but also dropped training videos off at a local store to be copied, and spoke openly to a Philadelphia police sergeant about obtaining maps of Fort Dix.

....In March of 2006, an FBI informant established a relationship with one of the men believed to be in the videotape....The informants convinced members of the group that they could help them obtain automatic weapons to use in their attacks.

....Their training regimen included playing paintball, the docments say.

Let me get this striaght: these guys dropped off jihadi videos at a local store, talked to Philly cops about getting a map of Ft. Dix, were still trying to procure weapons after 17 months of planning, and practiced for the attack by playing paintball.

This reminds me of that guy who planned to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch. Or those dudes who wanted to destroy the Sears Tower but couldn't even afford to buy boots and rental cars, let alone explosives. Or Jose Padilla, who, it turns out, was a deluded schmoe who didn't really have serious plans to do much of anything.

Is al-Qaeda recruiting these doofuses just to lull us into a false sense of security? Or maybe they're Jon Stewart fans and want to provide him with fresh material? WTF?

Kevin Drum 1:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (110)

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Comments

Let's hope this is the best they can do.

Posted by: Brian on May 8, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

And they would have gotten away with it, if not for you meddling kids.

Posted by: DonBoy on May 8, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason this story reminds me of the "Fake Oswald" scene in JFK. Frank Whaley, posing as Oswald, makes a fuss at a car dealership and a shooting range in the summer of '63, supposedly to distract from the real Oswald laying his plans in Dallas.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

They didn't even have much more than paintball guns at first. The AK-47's were introduced by one of the FBI plants.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 8, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Were the guys planning to blow up the Sears Tower the ones from Miami who were learning karate, trying to get uniforms from an FBI agent, etc.? Or were those a different bunch of wannabes?

Just when you thought 'the boy who cried wolf' was nothing more than an age old parable...we have this. Every time I see one of these 'terrorists under arrest' stories my first reaction is: "What's the catch?" Just when you think the DOJ's credibility can't go any lower another one of these over-hyped stories comes along.

Meanwhile, we've been on Orange Alert for what? 3 or 4 years now?

Posted by: joe bob on May 8, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hope that while the FBI is busy setting up stings to entrap insipid bumbling "jihadists" like this, they don't forget that, before Sept. 11 2001 the worst terrorist attack on American soil was carried out by a right wing nutjob.

Posted by: URK on May 8, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

fabrication nation.

Posted by: mestizO on May 8, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

McVeigh and Nichols didn't video their trial-runs, then run them over to the dupe-shop for copies.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 8, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Is al-Qaeda recruiting these doofuses just to lull us into a false sense of security?

Al-Qaeda, contra the popular image of a James Bond SPECTRE-style organization with thousands of footsoldiers, is really just 2 guys with a large bank account who will cut you a check if you're somewhat lucid and your plan might actually work.

I sincerely doubt that these guys had any contact with them. Not like they even knew how. Think about it: do you know how to contact Al-Qaeda? Do we assume every Muslim has a terrorist brother-in-law who went to college with Ayman al-Zawahiri?

Posted by: scarshapedstar on May 8, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK
Is al-Qaeda recruiting these doofuses

Probably not. I would suspect that al-Qaeda, as an organized group, didn't invest any resources in them at all. Al-Qaeda may have inspired them, though.


Posted by: cmdicely on May 8, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Do we assume every Muslim has a terrorist brother-in-law who went to college with Ayman al-Zawahiri?
Posted by: scarshapedstar

Well I don't but:
debbie schushell
treason in support of slavery Yankee
jesse (michelle) malkin
atlas juggs
anne altmouse
dan rhiel
and gun counter gomer do.

Posted by: klyde on May 8, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Is al-Qaeda recruiting these doofuses just to lull us into a false sense of security? Or maybe they're Jon Stewart fans and want to provide him with fresh material? WTF?

Or maybe the FBI includes some Stewart fans.

Al-Qaeda never really makes an appearance in these fiascos, but FBI informants do.

Posted by: Zeroinput on May 8, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Even our traditionally gullible news radio station, WCBS in New York, expressed some skepticism about these guys. The reporter, who had actually been do Fort Dix, said, "Do you know what you have to go through to get into that place?" The security is, as the French say, formidable, and these guys weren't.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"The informants convinced members of the group that they could help them obtain automatic weapons to use in their attacks."

How much "convincing" would consitute entrapment? I mean, I work with a slow co-worker that likely could be talked into taking a gun off my hands. I could also joke with him and get him to admit almost anything, as a joke.

I don't know, this seems like a non-event trumpeted as *an evil thing*.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on May 8, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK
Al-Qaeda, contra the popular image of a James Bond SPECTRE-style organization with thousands of footsoldiers, is really just 2 guys with a large bank account who will cut you a check if you're somewhat lucid and your plan might actually work.

And, perhaps equally importantly, they'll let you use their name (and endorse it publicly!) if you spout the right propaganda and attack the right people. So people figure, probably rightly, that all they have to do is spout the right things, carry off an attack and have at least one person around to claim credit for their group afterward, and they too can be part of something bigger themselves as an Official Al-Qaeda Affiliated Jihad Unit.

And all of that is pretty much free from al-Qaeda's perspective.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 8, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
Al-Qaeda never really makes an appearance in these fiascos, but FBI informants do.

FBI "informants" whose cajoling, pressuring, planning, and supplying of weapons is the only thing making the groups even vaguely dangerous, in many cases.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 8, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

One issue with such cases: Could it have been entrapment? Whose idea was the AK-47s? Did the "terrorists" come up with the idea, or was it the "source"?

The power for the Administration comes from a continual supply of terror incidents. If the American people realize that most of this terrorism shit is just shit, there will be a mighty revolt of the masses against these fucking fascists, and that would be a good thing

Posted by: POed Lib on May 8, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Is al-Qaeda recruiting these doofuses just to lull us into a false sense of security?

al-Qaeda couldn't be involved, because we are in Iraq fighting them over there so they won't come and fight us over here.

Posted by: asdfg on May 8, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Many of the "terrorist conspiracies" that have surfaced have been either guys PRETENDING to be terrorists, or just a bunch of confused people who think that they are terrorists.

In a good society, they would be treated for delusion.

In the Society of Fear that we live in, the Fucking Fascist Asshole Administration of George W. Turdface requires a continual supply of terrorists to ensure that people in this country really do believe that the terrorists could come here. This is, of course, not true, but they must convince the American Sheeple that it is true.

Posted by: POed Lib on May 8, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

As retarded as this plan was, it was brought down by policework wasn't it? We didn't have to invade any middle eastern countries to stop this plan right?

Posted by: jg on May 8, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

4 ALBANIANS. Who ought to know that the US sided with the Muslim world against the Christian Serbs...

Just another measure of stain on our reputation that Iraq has been.

Posted by: lampwick on May 8, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

What happened to the angle that the VPI killer had Ismail tattoed on his arm? Apparently that too was a symbol of Al Queda connection.

Posted by: gregor on May 8, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

What a joke this arrest is. Kevin, you forgot about the Lackawana Eight that took the homemade video at Disneyland that showed (horrors!) a lingering shot of a trash can. That had to mean that these nefarious men were planning to leave a bomb in a trash receptacle at the amusement park. Or maybe it meant they were poor photographers.....

These jackasses in the Bush Administration will grasp at any fictional straw that helps them justify pissing away $600 billion per year defending the "homeland" against the mythical foe called al-Qaeda. Like these 100 men or so really pose a threat to the entire American way of life. This is a farce - Count on it.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 8, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know, this seems like a non-event trumpeted as an evil thing.

If they had a hundred guys and the weapons to arm them, it would have been a very evil thing. As it is, it's freaking hilarious.

Seriously, a half-dozen guys against an entire fort? These morons have seen "Commando" a few too many times. This is what we're supposed to be afraid of?

Posted by: mmy on May 8, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Would it be proper to call it "terrorism" if someone attacked an Army base, anyway? Or have we dropped the "civilian target" part of the definition?

Posted by: DonBoy on May 8, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, an actual bomb was left in a women's clinic parking lot down here in Austin less than two weeks ago. But these terrorists, while apparently much more competent, weren't of the right ethnic/religious persuasion to stir up much of a fuss.

Posted by: b.d. on May 8, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Quick query:

Is the fraction of Muslim extremists in the US who are actually FBI agents larger or smaller than the fraction of CPUSA members who were actually FBI agents in, say, 1953?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 8, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

What is sad about most of these cases is that it is young muslim men that are rebelling against society by "acting Al Qaeda". This accounts for all the reports of bumbling and unprofessional behavior.
Unfortunately we, as in the larger national community and our police forces, don't have a choice. There is simply no way to seperate the clowns - the miami gang - from the killers - the london bombers. And in many cases I think the difference between the two is as subtle as one of the personalities involved deciding at some point along their imagined adventure to start taking it very seriously, to its explosive collusion.

As a muslim male in the Western World you can not joke about these kinds of things, it will ruin your life.

Posted by: Northern Observer on May 8, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK
One issue with such cases: Could it have been entrapment?

It actually takes quite a lot to be legally entrapment, and from what I've heard this sounds to be well within the bounds of things that have been ruled "not entrapment" in the past.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 8, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Or could it be that a bunch of pissed-off rank-and-filers in the FBI, under constant pressure from GOP appointees to 'find terrorist cells'--are breaking these clown cases as a form of bureaucratic revenge?

Posted by: pbg on May 8, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

I have to wonder about the entrapment issue too.

Even if these guys actually wanted to pull this stunt off were they really a threat?

I can understand watching them, but it seems like they would have never gotten their hands on anything dangerous had it not been for the "helpful" FBI informant.

Looks like we're manufactoring our terrorists in more than one way.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on May 8, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wait just a minute -- I thought we were fighting them over there so we wouldn't have to fight them over here. But now we're fighting them here AND we're still over there? Does that make any sense?

Posted by: Stefan on May 8, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. It is all very funny. Until the day it isn't.

Posted by: Vanderleun on May 8, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and jg has it right.

This was solved with police work, not military work.

Chew on that, rightards.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on May 8, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

These guys remind me of a President that thought he could kill Social Security, National Health Care, and Public Education by drowning our country with war debt in Iraq.

Oh wait...

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on May 8, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of that guy who planned to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch. Or those dudes who wanted to destroy the Sears Tower but couldn't even afford to buy boots and rental cars, let alone explosives. Or Jose Padilla, who, it turns out, was a deluded schmoe who didn't really have serious plans to do much of anything.

and each and every one of those stories was breathlessly repeated (courtesy of doj scripts) by kelli arena on cnn.

Posted by: linda on May 8, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

You're all forgetting about the original WTC bomber who, after blowing up his fertilizer-laden U-Haul rental truck in the parking garage, tried to go back to the renatl agency and get his money back.

Don't kid yourselves guys - the guys strapping on the backpacks loaded with TNT were necessarily not the brightest kids in kindergarten. That doesn't mean they were all idiots, either. But if you're a believer in a cause you're still a believer. And apparently, that's all it takes.

Posted by: ny patriot on May 8, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

This is another example of how Bush has made this country less safe!

You morons shouldn't be minimizing this plot the way you are in these comments. Use it to play to your meme.

Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!

Posted by: daleyrocks on May 8, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

In the mid 90s, when I lived in Brooklyn, we heard of some plot to blow up the subway that was stopped when one of the participants chickened out, flagged down a police officer, and ratted out the rest of his conspirators. It was a ridiculous "life is never dull in the city" moment. But one wonders, how often do bizarre plots like this happen? And what prevents successful plots from taking place? Most of our society is pretty open. At least the first few times, it would seem relatively easy to commit terrorist activity. So why not?

Posted by: JMS on May 8, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

When they graduated from pea shooters to paintball guns, the FBI must have noted the dangerous escalation and decided to move quickly.

Posted by: POD on May 8, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

The police and FBI may have been worried that they were getting ready to take a page out of the unhinged tolerant left's playbook and use their rights to the freedom of speech to inflict physical violence on those whose opinions differ from their own. There is a substantial track record of it happening after all.

Posted by: daleyrocks on May 8, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, if you read "News of the Weird," you know that on any given week, there are a few doofuses who come to believe that they are one of the following:

* Evil Knievel.
* Mastermind jewel thieves.
* Homebrew astronauts.
* Bank robbers.
* Demolitions experts.

It seems only natural to me that there would be a few self-styled terrorists, too.

Posted by: Josh Yelon on May 8, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

But if you're a believer in a cause you're still a believer. And apparently, that's all it takes...

Wait, are you still talking about terrorists or have you switched to the Bush Admin hiring practices?

Posted by: ckelly on May 8, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hope that while the FBI is busy setting up stings to entrap insipid bumbling "jihadists" like this, they don't forget that, before Sept. 11 2001 the worst terrorist attack on American soil was carried out by a right wing nutjob.

And all signs point to the reality that the wingnut jihadists are on the move again.

(We've gone more than 6 yrs without a credible threat against GWB from a leftie, but 9 months away from the first primary, and some guy in LA is already planning the assassination of HRC, not to mention the racists targeting Obama and the white powder being mailed to Edwards.)

By the end of the summer I expect the terrorist training camps in the woods of MI and the panhandle of TX will be reopened.

Posted by: Disputo on May 8, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Nah, these guys don't even qualify for the Daily Show. They'd better hang their hats at a chance at the Schmaily Schmow.

Posted by: djangone on May 8, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why the surprise when a bunch of wannabe losers turn out to be ... wannabe losers?

Posted by: mac on May 8, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

"...are you still talking about terrorists or have you switched to the Bush Admin hiring practices?" ckelly

There's a difference?

Speaking of believers, what truth has Rush Limbaugh dispensed on this subject?

Posted by: Zit on May 8, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely on May 8, 2007 at 2:23 PM gets it right. It's all free for al-Qaida, and the more distracted we get by the wannabe's, the less likely we are to catch the real guys. And there are, without a doubt, real al-Quaida terrorists out there and they're not all bungling idiots. One of Bushco's worst sins (and there's quite a list) against us will turn out to be having cried wolf so many times.

Posted by: thersites on May 8, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

What? They're coming over here to fight us ALREADY? Numbskulls, don't they know we're still in Iraq and they're supposed to fight us over THERE? Sheesh.

Posted by: CT on May 8, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

rocksferbrains: "...the unhinged tolerant left's playbook"

No, dear god, not the tolerant left! Anything but that. (Choke)

Posted by: Kenji on May 8, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Or those dudes who wanted to destroy the Sears Tower but couldn't even afford to buy boots and rental cars, let alone explosives.

My favorite part of that particular story was when they had a falling-out over how they would share the profits of the head shop that they were planning to open to finance their terrorist activities ... before they even managed to get sufficiently organized to even look into actually opening said head shop.

It was 100% amateur night that was only held together by an FBI informant desperate to show progress. Good to break the group up early since, as we now know, a single delusional person can do a LOT of damage, but not really worth a full-blown OMG THE TERRORISTS R GOING TO KILL US ALL!!!1!!1! panic.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 8, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

mmy wrote:

"Seriously, a half-dozen guys against an entire fort?"
________________________

Though I don't know about these suspects, the idea of attacking a CONUS military installation isn't all that far-fetched.

On a typical stateside base, only a very few people are actually armed. Weapons are in secured armories and are issued for deployment or training. They are usually issued without ammunition, except at ranges and after deployment.

If one could breach the initial security (say, in a pizza delivery truck), then what any terrorist squad would face is a large town of mostly unarmed military people. The inhabitants wouldn't even have access to their own privately-owned weapons, because many bases require that private weapons be secured in an armory when not being used. Even on bases where soldiers may keep their private weapons in their quarters (usually only in family housing), they wouldn't be carrying them around the base, but have them locked up at home.

Many years ago, I ran the crisis action room in an Air Force base command post during an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). The inspectors threw us a curve by announcing that the flight line was under fire from an unknown number of snipers. They then started to label a number of flight line personnel as dead and wounded. Our Security Police responded as police always do, with sirens, pistols and shotguns, and were promptly "killed."

Not only did we have very little to counter the threat, we couldn't even police up the wounded. The commander of the base hospital said he couldn't order anyone out there without some protection. At one point, the commander wondered if he could request help from the local police SWAT team to take out the snipers. What a mess!

All the Services now have organized force protection assets, not simply police. Still, a well-armed squad, keeping the initiative through fire and movement, could kill many unarmed people before a reaction force could be deployed.

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 8, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

This victory in the GWOT comes 1 day after Bush's approval rating hits 28%.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 8, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

"This was solved with police work, not military work."
_________________

Which is the way we want to keep it, naturally, even overseas. Trouble is, some regimes aren't going to be very...helpful, when it comes to police work overseas. And, when dealing with nations who are actively hostile, the police options aren't very realistic.

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 8, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

'On a typical stateside base, only a very few people are actually armed. Weapons are in secured armories and are issued for deployment or training. They are usually issued without ammunition, except at ranges and after deployment.

If one could breach the initial security (say, in a pizza delivery truck), then what any terrorist squad would face is a large town of mostly unarmed military people. The inhabitants wouldn't even have access to their own privately-owned weapons, because many bases require that private weapons be secured in an armory when not being used. Even on bases where soldiers may keep their private weapons in their quarters (usually only in family housing), they wouldn't be carrying them around the base, but have them locked up at home.
'

So trained military personel aren't allowed to carry loaded weapons on base, yet right wing radio asshats think college kids should walk campus strapped to the teeth. Am I missing something?

Posted by: jg on May 8, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

'"This was solved with police work, not military work."
_________________

Which is the way we want to keep it, naturally, even overseas. Trouble is, some regimes aren't going to be very...helpful, when it comes to police work overseas. And, when dealing with nations who are actively hostile, the police options aren't very realistic.
'

But in the countries likely to experience terrorists attacks we can expect plenty of help because they are mostly open societies like ours. Terrorists can't commit terrorism on our shores without first getting to our shores. When that happens its a police issue. If we find a host country involved after the police work is concluded we get the military involved but its the last move, the final move.

Posted by: jg on May 8, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Shades of Herbert Hoover, who infiltrated every left-wing group in America with agents who tried to get them to do something nasty.

Posted by: Bonnie on May 8, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jon Stewart- where liberals get all the information they consider newsworthy.

Posted by: Random Limbaughite


You'd think with the "liberal media," liberals wouldn't need a Jon Stewart for information, wouldn't you? If you thought at all, that is.

Posted by: Martin Gale on May 8, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Careful, MG, when robots find out they are robots, their circuits explode.

Posted by: Kenji on May 8, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

jg wrote:

"But in the countries likely to experience terrorists attacks we can expect plenty of help because they are mostly open societies like ours. Terrorists can't commit terrorism on our shores without first getting to our shores."
_________________

No, by a wide margin, the place to find most active terrorists is in any number of autocratic countries or in disputed countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia. The terrorism problem in the US or other open societies only remains a manageable police problem if terrorism is also attacked where it breeds. And US police aren't very effective overseas.

The autocratic countries might lend support to our CIA, but the FBI will remain relatively helpless in such, being basically limited to whatever the host country will give them or let them do. And, of course, any police or FBI types in the disputed countries are even more restricted, since they cannot operate freely without becoming targets themselves.

That is why pulling out of Iraq will not solve the Islamic terrorist issue. We'll still be faced with the same limited alternatives in the disputed countries where the terrorism festers. Once we pull out our combat troops from Iraq, we'll still have to pick a side and support it. And God help us it that side begins to lose or begins to take their country in a dangerous. direction.

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 8, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

So trained military personel aren't allowed to carry loaded weapons on base, yet right wing radio asshats think college kids should walk campus strapped to the teeth. Am I missing something?

Just that said asshats are rarely military or ex-military, but I expect you already knew that.

Posted by: Disputo on May 8, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

jg wrote:

"So trained military personel aren't allowed to carry loaded weapons on base, yet right wing radio asshats think college kids should walk campus strapped to the teeth. Am I missing something?"
_______________________

You are only missing this, jg: A military base is generally a very safe place to live. Compared to any city of like size, there is almost no crime and little fear of crime. Any crime gets reported by most anybody who sees it, immediately and fully, and the offending member, once identified, will not be returning - ever. Military people and their families expect to be safe on base.

That isn't true outside federal property. The police mostly serve to pick up the pieces once a crime has been committed. They cannot protect you, because the odds are long that they will be too far away when you need them most. And, to be blunt, the police will encourage you to rat out someone, even knowing that they cannot protect you if it becomes known and the perpetrator is released the next day.

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 8, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Even our traditionally gullible news radio station, WCBS in New York, expressed some skepticism about these guys. "

Can't say the same about Jim Lehrer's News Hour. Not a single skeptical question from Gwen. What a sorry excuse for journalism.

Liberals, stop trusting Jim Lehrer. He's just another overpaid corporate whore.

Posted by: Archie on May 8, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Compared to any city of like size, there is almost no crime and little fear of crime.

Oh, really?

From the article: According to the Pentagon's Family Advocacy Program, there were almost 11,000 substantiated cases of physical, emotional or sexual spouse abuse among military families last year. But military domestic violence is notoriously under-reported.

And Fort Bragg had a sniper attack too. Coincidentally, that's the same number of shooting sprees that Virginia Tech had!

Well, other than women, gay and foreign victims, there's hardly any crime or criminals on military bases.

Posted by: Noltf on May 8, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

'jg wrote:

"But in the countries likely to experience terrorists attacks we can expect plenty of help because they are mostly open societies like ours. Terrorists can't commit terrorism on our shores without first getting to our shores."
_________________

No, by a wide margin, the place to find most active terrorists is in any number of autocratic countries or in disputed countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia. The terrorism problem in the US or other open societies only remains a manageable police problem if terrorism is also attacked where it breeds. And US police aren't very effective overseas.
'

The only 'active' terrorists I'm referring to are people in this country bent on carrying out an attack. People in another country mean nothing to me, they can't hurt me. We can deal with those who come here or to other western countries to commit acts through police investigation. There is no way you're going to convince me that attacking a muslim country under the pretense of stamping out 'terrorism' will ever be effective. That would be a reason to commit terrorist acts against the US not a reason not to (US military bases in Saudi Arabia as an example).


'That is why pulling out of Iraq will not solve the Islamic terrorist issue.'

Actually what you've described is the reason why going to Iraq was never a step in the direction of solving the Islamic terrorist issue. You're worries about what could happen if we pull out was what a lot of people predicted would happen if we went to war with Iraq. We'd be stuck there owning a broken country and would have an even worse terrorism problem on our hands. They're using us for practice now. They're learning how to use chemical trucks as car bombs. They're getting live battlefield training against the very military they'd be opposing if we ever did get into a real battle with them. Never mind the ones we're actually training directly who certainly won't be fighting for our side against their own when the shit goes down. But I do agree the FBI won't be much help in Waziristan.

Posted by: jg on May 8, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

'jg wrote:

"So trained military personel aren't allowed to carry loaded weapons on base, yet right wing radio asshats think college kids should walk campus strapped to the teeth. Am I missing something?"
_______________________

You are only missing this, jg: A military base is generally a very safe place to live.
'

So this is why they aren't allowed to carry or even have access to a weapon on base? If the crime rate was higher on military bases you think the Joint Cheifs will decide its best to let soldiers carry and handle the situation themselves? Maybe its low because they can't carry. Maybe more drill instructors would Full Metal Jacket'ed if guns were easy to come across on bases. I don't think crime rate is really a good argument here.

My point was that if military personel who must train and qualify on weapons usage aren't allowed to carry (for reasons other than crime rate I assume) then college students who can purchase a gun without even demonstrating they know how to hold it should not be packing heat.

Posted by: jg on May 8, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, a half-dozen guys against an entire fort? These morons have seen "Commando" a few too many times. This is what we're supposed to be afraid of?

NO offense, you apparently are not from the states. The name "fort" is vestigial. It is no more a fort than any local office complex with moderate security.

4 ALBANIANS. Who ought to know that the US sided with the Muslim world against the Christian Serbs...Just another measure of stain on our reputation that Iraq has been.

Sarajevo has been a hotbed of hatred of the US long before the present debacle in Iraq. No one was ever grateful for us taking sides in that civil war. We just added to the meme and propaganda against the Orthodox side in what was massacres and war crimes from all sides.

Posted by: Zeke on May 8, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

These people don't sound very dangerous. And my first thought, too, was about that 28% approval rating.

But some day the FBI may come across the real thing. Let's hope it's after George Bush is long gone from the presidency, because otherwise we'll all just yawn.

It's a conundrum.

Posted by: Ridinghood on May 8, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Sarajevo has been a hotbed of hatred of the US long before the present debacle in Iraq. No one was ever grateful for us taking sides in that civil war.

Um, the Bosnian Muslims, as well as cosmopolitans from all backgrounds, were. The only thing that pissed them off is that NATO didn't intercede sooner.

In any case, the four of six captured are ethnic Albanian Muslims, presumably from Kosovo or Macedonia, not Bosnians. I don't know any Kosovars personally, but I'd find it hard to believe that they are not predisposed to liking the West after we stopped the Serbs from slaughtering them and set the stage for having their own indie country.

Posted by: Disputo on May 8, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget the case of James Yee, the Guantanamo Muslim Army chaplain who was accused of treason and trying to give classified info to the enemy and ended up getting charged only with adultery and having porn and even those charges were later thrown out.

There was also the Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield who supposedly had his fingerprints all over the Madrid bombing. He ended up with an apology from the FBI and a $2M settlement.

Posted by: Rosali on May 8, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, I'm confused:

"According to the documents, U.S. authorities were alerted to the group's existence by a video store employee, who said a man had brought in a recording of 10 young men shooting assault weapons and shouting jihadist slogans. The man asked for the videotape to be copied onto a DVD, the charging documents said."

So they already had some assault weapons, but wanted more? Where did they get these original assault weapons?

Posted by: LAS on May 8, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, just crashing in here. "The Modern Face of Terrorism."

I'm not sure how to take this. Is this sarcasm about their inability to complete? Is it a comparison to the past?

I can't quite get where this is going.

IRA, Red Brigade, PLA, Liberation Army, McVeigh? They were all dangerous and more effective than this bunch. And they were all basically home grown.

So, yes, this was a pretty sorry bunch. But it doesn't tell you anything about who is around the corner.

Yes, of cource the FBI have overplayed the kill, but I'd be careful about flipping this off.

Posted by: notthere on May 8, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

"The video showed 10 young men "shooting assault weapons at a firing range ... while calling for jihad and shouting in Arabic 'Allah Akbar' (God is great)," the complaint said."

Where was this firing range? Why didn't the owners or other customers notice them making this video?

Posted by: LAS on May 8, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Trouble is, some regimes aren't going to be very...helpful, when it comes to police work overseas.

You're talking about Pakistan right? Right?

Posted by: ckelly on May 8, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's clear that you really hate America and are rooting for the terrorists to win.

Posted by: nabalzbbfr on May 8, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

noltf wrote:

"Well, other than women, gay and foreign victims, there's hardly any crime or criminals on military bases."
____________________

Sure, there was certainly going to be one simple-minded, poisonous pogue who couldn't resist. You'll note that I didn't say we had no crime. I said that any observed crime would be reported by nearly anyone.

We have domestic violence, theft, murder, drug offenses and all other types of crime. We just don't have nearly as many as any other segment of society.

And sure, we even had a sniper attack, in which one person was killed and 20 wounded. You'll also note that the deranged shooter, armed with three weapons, was taken into custody by unarmed soldiers. Most anyplace else, the guy would have kept firing whilst police wasted time establishing a perimeter or somesuch.

But you just go ahead and dream on, noltf. The truth is always subjective for your sort, anyway.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 8, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

TH, do you really have to insult noltf for countering your lie that there is "almost no crime" on military bases? Is that part of the military code of honor?

Posted by: Disputo on May 8, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

trashhauler, you will not find me saying much bad about the armed forces, but abuse of women members is well up there and continuous, with, it seems, little prosecution or change in attitude, whether at the lowest or top levels.

Year after year we hear forces reports (AF, Colorado; West Point), I have heard it second hand (I'm not a woman or in the forces) for here in the US and in Iraq and Afghanistan; but nothing seems to change.

Comment?

Posted by: notthere on May 8, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

I think this may have been a legitimate group. Think about the 9/11 guys. They took flying lessons at small private air fields. They had practice runs by traveling to Vegas and other places, and they used box cutters.....

Look at what happened at V Tech.... We need to get over the idea that terrorists (or killers for that matter) are some how super sophisticated. On the contrary, terrorists are human beings with a specific goal and that's to kill people.

Paint ball can be perfect practice for simulating the experience of firing wildly at people with the intent to kill people as many people as possible while on the run and using various objects and positions for cover. Also, this practice would take place under the guise of legitimate fun (like flight lessons). In sum, don't prejudge the charges because we may have caught some killers, which at the end of the day is the true definition of a terrorist.

Posted by: NJ on May 8, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

They (the FBI and Police) have already said there were no links to the real al Qaeda.

Believe me, if they had been trained at any of the multitude of camps available, they would not have been this stupid. And their aim would have been real damage.

This was an amateur group.

I really hope that the professional services have raised their game since 11th September, 2001; there is something coming down the pipe. Given this administration, I have my doubts.

Posted by: notthere on May 9, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

The 9/11 hijackers were from countries theoretically friendly to the US (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Arab Emirates). The mastermind of the Cole bombing was a Saudi. The members of this latest group come from other "friendly" Islamic countries or territories: Kosovo, Turkey, Jordan.

It would seem that the more friendly Islamic countries there are, the less safe we're likely to be.

Posted by: JS on May 9, 2007 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

I would hold judgment on this until more facts come out. The authorities may be telling the truth, or they may be withholding facts - especially since this came out of the Justice Dept.

Posted by: Andy on May 9, 2007 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Technically, I wouldn't call them terrorists. They weren't targeting civilians.

Posted by: mcdruid on May 9, 2007 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Technically, I wouldn't call them terrorists. They weren't targeting civilians.

Haven't you heard? Every Muslim is a terrorist.

Hezbollah captures two soldiers? They're terrorists, and the appropriate response is to murder 1500 civs. 13 yo girl carrying a backpack? She's a terrorist -- shoot her!

Posted by: Disputo on May 9, 2007 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

I would hold judgment on this until more facts come out. The authorities may be telling the truth, or they may be withholding facts

Withholding judgment until the GWB admin provides us with all the facts is precisely why we are in the current mess.

Posted by: Disputo on May 9, 2007 at 5:33 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know any Kosovars personally, but I'd find it hard to believe that they are not predisposed to liking the West after we stopped the Serbs from slaughtering them and set the stage for having their own indie country.

So you believe the Iraqis should love us as well?

I doubt you have ever been to Kosovo. My nephew served there. The US has not been liked for a very long time, certainly pre-dating Dubya.

Posted by: qed on May 9, 2007 at 6:19 AM | PERMALINK

Is the fraction of Muslim extremists in the US who are actually FBI agents larger or smaller than the fraction of CPUSA members who were actually FBI agents in, say, 1953?

I was around back in the old Hoover days doing a lot of classified stuff and every body that new anything about it always said that the COPUSA would have gone out of business if all the FBI guys stopped paying their dues. Got a feeling this is much the same today. The Mosques of the US would be empty if the Feds. didn't show every Friday.

Posted by: GRUMPY OLD MAN on May 9, 2007 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

disputo wrote:

"TH, do you really have to insult noltf for countering your lie that there is "almost no crime" on military bases? Is that part of the military code of honor?"
_________________

Oh, come off it, disputo. Not only do you specialize in the unfair insult, you intentionally describe every statement with which you disagree as a "lie." Nevermind that your intent is to discredit so as to shut down discussion, what does it say about your own principles that you spend all your time attacking others? Have you any principles at all, aside from your dislike of conservatives and Repugs? Disputo is a perfect name for you - no positive affirmation of anything, but plenty of negation and contempt. Not a very good avatar for folks on your side of the aisle.

As to my honor, it is mine to keep, as well as I can, not that you actually care one way or the other. No one is perfect, but if I misstate something or make an error, I'll own up to it (something that won't most here won't do). Honor, like any other positive character trait, is something to be practiced, even when one falls short. As to someone questioning the state of another's honor, it's good to remember that it helps to have a sense of honor to begin with.

As to noltf "proving" anything, he or she did no such thing. Nobody, least of all I, have ever claimed that military people are perfect. But life on a military base is far less dangerous, far more harmonious, than any similar sized town you are likely to find anywhere. You, and noltf, might think that you score some sort of point by denying it, but it doesn't change the reality of it.


Posted by: trashhauler on May 9, 2007 at 7:28 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, the loony left sure is pathetic.

Don't worry, real men will continue to protect your sorry asses.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on May 9, 2007 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

WTF?

Isn't this USA the same one who trumpeted an "investigation" into Bob Menendez last fall?

This seems to me a case of a "loyal Bushie" doing his duty and keeping his job.

Posted by: Jim Pharo on May 9, 2007 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Not only do you specialize in the unfair insult, you intentionally describe every statement with which you disagree as a "lie."

Not surprising, this is yet another lie. And no recognition of whatsoever of the insult you threw at the previous poster. More of that military code of honor, no doubt.

I didn't bother reading further. You are total asshole. And oh, yes, *that* was a *real* insult, you panty-waist.

Posted by: Disputo on May 9, 2007 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt you have ever been to Kosovo.

Uh, I just said that I don't know any Kosovars, so, yes, one could easily infer that.

You wingnuts aren't too bright today, are you-all?

Posted by: Disputo on May 9, 2007 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

notthere wrote:

"Year after year we hear forces reports (AF, Colorado; West Point), I have heard it second hand (I'm not a woman or in the forces) for here in the US and in Iraq and Afghanistan; but nothing seems to change. Comment?"
_______________________

All very true and a good point, notthere. I'm pretty familiar with the sad state of affairs that led to charges of widespread sexual harassment at the Air Force Academy, my alma mater. One thing the scandal did was cause many alumni to get involved in the Association of Graduates, with the intent of finding out what the hell was going on and how we could help. Largely out of sight of the press, which merely kept repeating the nasty statistics, many of us visited the place, took part in seminars and discussions and took leadership to task. One thing that became immediately obvious was that standards of military discipline had been allowed to slip woefully low during the 1990s, with little emphasis of honor or commitment to ethics. Another thing was that Academy leaders had begun to treat the cadets as children, removing them from leadership roles, essentially turning the place into nothing more than a university with uniformed students. Cadets had begun to look upon the other gender as nothing more special than other college students, dating possibilities, rather than colleagues in an honorable profession.

The place has changed quite a bit, with much greater emphasis on character, leadership and honor. It's something to keep working on, as all good things need work, but things are looking up. I'm told that the Navy and Army have similarly tightened up things at their academies.

A point should be made here which in no way diminishes the issues that were addressed at the academies, but that puts some things into perspective. Stats kept on sexual harassment at the Academies were extrordinarily broad. Unlike civilian universities, whose states do not onclude incidents that occur off campus or offenses committed by non-students, the academies include all incidents involving cadets, everywhere. Nevertheless, the rate of sexual harassment or assualt incidents remained proportionally lower at academies than at any civilian schools, e.g., Notre Dame, Purdue, or Stanford. In addition, the widely publicized reports that most women cadets had experienced some form of harassment were never explained adequately. Drilling down into the surveys revealed that the questions always defined sexual harassment or assault to include any "unwanted attention or touching," even if nothing more happened. By that standard, any school, company or church would probably look bad. The Air Force also found that the Academy stats on reportable crimes included incidents that in no way fit the legal definition of assault under the UCMJ or the civil code. In other words, many reported incidents for which cadets had received administrative punishment were not crimes under any accepted legal code. That is not to say that crimes were not committed. Too many were. But the academies did not help their images by including incidents that were not crimes, but merely regulation busts.

Overall, the Services tend to be open books about such things. The scandals that arise are almost invariably kept alive by freely available official reports provided by the Services themselves. In the press heat generated by such reports and sad, anecdotal stories, the point is often lost that each incident is an individual case, with individual causes and results. It should also be said that inappropriate heterosexual behavior, even if consensual, results in more courts-martial than do drug offenses, theft, or any other category of wrong doing. Adultery gets more people kicked out than any other cause. The reason is obvious: sexual feeling is ubiquitous, everywhere. Keeping sex out of military units is essential to good discipline and every commander is aware that his or her career hangs in the balance if each isn't dealt with justly.

That our enemies, at home and abroad, make as much as they can over such things is a fact of life. The Services cannot help that. They can only continue to report, correct, punish, and press on. That's nothing more than what we expect from service within an open society. We will always have to spot our adversaries an advantage on that - certainly there will never be similar stories about our enemies, for the very good reason that they don't report them.

Sorry for the long post. Your's was a serious question and deserved a serious answer.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 9, 2007 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

disputo wrote in his usual way:

"You are total asshole. And oh, yes, *that* was a *real* insult, you panty-waist."
________________

Jesus, disputo, could you get more lame?

Posted by: trashhauler on May 9, 2007 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo said: Uh, I just said that I don't know any Kosovars, so, yes, one could easily infer that.You wingnuts aren't too bright today, are you-all?

And right wingers like yourself, who see everything as one dimensional and military solution and bombing as the best course, are bright? LOL.

Bush and Clinton's wag the dogs were similar. One had a weaker enemy. Both brought us new unforeseen enemies. Both involved helping create and then playing broker in civil wars.

You seem to think that the Kosovoars ought to be grateful for us abetting them driving Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other non-Albanians from Kosovo? Or is it that you think that turning a blind eye to the twin penetration of the Kosovo groups by Jihadists and arms smuggling organized criminals in 1999-2000 gained us some points? wow.

Posted by: Isaac on May 9, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Oh sure, the FBI nails these clowns.

But, they can't seem to find those al-Quaeda types who lurk under ex-liberal's bed - the same ones who come out of his closet at night to say "Boo".

FAUX, you must hire a Bounty Hunter.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 9, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

?And right wingers like yourself...

LMAO. Who let all the wackos out of the asylum?

Posted by: Disputo on May 9, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, disputo, could you get more lame?

Just like every other wingnut, you can dish it out in truckloads, but you just can't take it when a crumb gets returned back to you.

More of that military code, huh?

Posted by: Disputo on May 9, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, Kevin,

If it wasn't for all the liberals committing voting fraud, the DOJ would have the resources to dig deeper and find the really dangerous terrorists. As a result of all the voting fraud, which is so much more important than terrorists, the FBI is only able to pick the low hanging fruit.

Posted by: Grand Old Pundit on May 9, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

disputo wrote:

"More of that military code, huh?"
________________

Just goes to show, disputo, that you haven't a clue about any type of code of ethics, honor, or anything else. A code of honor doesn't require anyone to suffer a fool (that's you) gladly.

"Can dish it out but can't take it?" What the hell, are you in junior high or what? Go try that bullshit on somebody who hasn't been around much, boyo. Someone like yourself.

Let me know when you're ready to post something longer than three lines without a cut and paste from some website. I realize it will be tough for you. Posting something longer than a paragraph would require you to actually know something or have expertise in something.

In the meantime, why don't you quit while you're behind?

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 9, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, trashhauler, since you are familiar with the air force, perhaps you can answer a question I've had: theoretically, is failure to show up for a mandatory physical an AWOL offense? Have there been any prosecutions for similar failures?

Posted by: mcdruid on May 9, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

If Jaimie Gorlick and Reno had allowed the FBI to search Moussoui's computer the 911 team would have looked like clowns too - imagine going to flight school and saying you don't need to learn take-offs or landings....

Posted by: minion on May 9, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

mcdruid wrote:

"By the way, trashhauler, since you are familiar with the air force, perhaps you can answer a question I've had: theoretically, is failure to show up for a mandatory physical an AWOL offense? Have there been any prosecutions for similar failures?"
____________________

mcdruid, theoretically any infraction mentioned in the UCMJ could result in a courtmartial, including deliberately failing to follow a regulation. It wouldn't be called being AWOL unless it involved being away from an assigned duty station during a specific tour of duty. I don't recall the specifics of being AWOL, though.

From a practical standpoint, officers are rarely, if ever, determined to be AWOL. Unless specifically required to be somewhere, officers are assumed to be on their own - that's why they are officers. A boss will question an officer who has missed formations or required duty, but will take drastic action only if it becomes a habit or somehow impairs the officer's performance. I recall that upon graduation from the Air Force Academy on 6 June, my report date to pilot training was in late September. I promptly left for Europe with friends and didn't report to Texas until two days before class began, even though I didn't have enough leave accrued to cover the time away. No one said, "Boo" and the only thing that happened was that I couldn't take more leave until I had earned enough to cover what I had "borrowed."

I was a pilot, so missing a flight physical meant that I could not fly until I got the physical. Even more important was the fact that my flight pay would have stopped one month after the physical was due. For someone not on flight status, the lack of a physical isn't necessarily a duty problem, so nobody would care much, except that the squadron would eventually get a list of people still needing annual physicals.

Does that help?

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 9, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Trashhauler. I kinda figured it boiled down to whether your C.O. liked you. The UMCJ on AWOL is:
Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

Article 86 - Absence without leave (AWOL)

Text. “Any member of the armed forces who, without authority—

(1) fails to go to his appointed place of duty at the time prescribed;

blah, blah.

Posted by: mcdruid on May 10, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Bush and Clinton's wag the dogs were similar.
You got it. Both based on lies. Both helped create murderous civil wars and ethnic cleansings. Both involved simple minded answers.

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