Monday, March 7, 2005

The Armanious Murders

Here's the story of the brutal murders of the Armanious family in Jersey City, New Jersey late last year. It turns out that fears, including our own, that this horrific crime was committed by Muslims for religious reasons were unfounded. The perpetrators were two low-lifes looking for easy money. Both of them should have been in prison at the time but were out on the streets. The New York Post reports that:

The pair met at the federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J. Sanchez was sent there in 2000 after being sentenced in 1995 to 121/2 years in prison for conspiracy to import more than three kilos of cocaine and a kilo of heroin. McDonald was sent there after a 2001 drug conviction.

So why were they not in jail? The story doesn't tell us, but it prods us to make a suggestion. Perhaps one of the legal reforms Republicans ought to enact this session is the establishment of civil liability for any official who releases a convicted felon from prison prior to the conclusion of his sentence, if that individual commits another felony before his sentence would have expired. If the victims of felons who were granted early releases could sue the people responsible for turning these predators loose, two things would ensue: It would hold the bureaucrats accountable for their decisions and force them to be much more thorough and circumspect in selecting the people to be returned to the streets, and it would, therefore, severely reduce the number of criminals living among us.

It would also, of course, please trial lawyers whose universe of potential litigants would expand handsomely, but that's an unfortunate and unavoidable side-effect.

The Post's story has details of the crime and explains who the two slugs were who perpetrated it. Thanks to Powerline for the tip.

The Dominos Keep Falling

Adventures With Chester tips us to an article in The American Thinker titled The Next Domino. In the essay Douglas Hanson discusses elements of the United States' war on terror that the media apparently know nothing about. There are interesting operations afoot both in the Horn of Africa and Abu Musa Island off the coast of Iran in the Straits of Hormuz. Here are some highlights from the article:

With virtually no attention from the mainstream media, the United States has been taking actions calculated to ratchet-up pressure on the mullahs of Iran. A complex plan has been carefully crafted to avoid a direct military attack on Iran, which would inflame nationalism and build support for the mullahs. Once again, the scope, subtlety, and vision of President Bush's foreign policy confounds his carping critics.

Iran has been aggressively moving to export terror and build-up its ability to threaten the world in two places: the Horn of Africa, and the vital Straits of Hormuz, where the Persian Gulf's oil riches must pass on their way to market. There are now some serious indicators that the Coalition, including both French and German military elements, has been deftly executing a combined political and military operation to roll back Iranian gains from the last 12 years.

There are strong indications that the efforts of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) are starting to push Iranian operators out of the Horn, if they have not gone already. United States naval and ground forces, French commandos, and Die Deutsche Kriegsmarine (German Navy), through a combined series of special and conventional operations, naval power, and humanitarian assistance projects, have established the conditions for the introduction of up to 7,500 troops from the African Union and the Arab League. This is a watershed event for the Coalition in this area, and shows that the Somali people are anxious to finally rid their country of bandits, terrorists, and Iranian agents, and are looking forward to having the government-in-exile return to Mogadishu.

The other prong of CENTCOM's operations against Iran involves Abu Musa Island. The island had been the object of a long-running dispute between Iran and the UAE because of its oil reserves and its strategic location midway in the narrow channel of the Straits of Hormuz. In 1992, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took complete control of the island , and proceeded to fortify it and deploy thousands of troops, modern air defense batteries, sophisticated anti-ship missile systems, and, according to former SecDef William Perry, chemical weapons. For over a decade, the Iranians have had the capability of shutting down the shipping lane and paralyzing shipment of over one-fifth of the world's oil supply.

This past week, Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG-5) completed an amphibious exercise on the coast of Kuwait. Keep in mind that a rehearsal is a phase of any amphibious operation, and allows the afloat Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the Navy to test the communications links, practice disembarkation, exercise the procedures for naval surface fire support and air support, and, of course, practice the assault itself.

Rather than risk a popular backlash by the citizens of Iran against the US by conducting a direct air or land campaign against the Iranian homeland, seizure of an island that has been disputed for decades would show the Iranians we were willing to support their fight against the mullahs without putting their lives at risk or destroying their infrastructure. The mullahs launched their gambit as an act of aggression; reversing it would demonstrate strength, but indicate no hostility to the Iranian people.

This analysis doesn't even include any possible covert Special Operations Force activities designed to foment rebellion in what is viewed as an increasingly restive Iranian population. Because of the pressure being applied in the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf, it may require only a slight push from the freedom-loving people in Iran to rid themselves of this oppressive regime, following through on the very visible promise to them made by President Bush in his State of the Union Address.

Bush's critics often seem to assume that because they're not informed by the MSM of any developments in the GWOT that therefore the administration must not be doing much. One might think that they'd learn not to "misunderestimate" the man, but in the hearts of some of them there is an invincible hope that he'll turn out to vindicate all their declamations of his utter ineptitude. Nevertheless, the dominos keep falling. Let's pray that that happy state of affairs continues.