Comment Last Three
November 28, 2010
What should South Korea and the United States do to North Korea for bombing the South Korean island? What will the United Nations do to North Korea?
North Korea has now sunk a South Korean ship and killed citizens on the South Korean island through artillery shells. Is North Korea trying to justify their transfer of power? Will China come to the aid of North Korea--again?
The United States and South Korea prepared for war games today as South Koreans demanded vengeance over a deadly North Korean artillery bombardment that has raised fears of more clashes between the bitter rivals.
The North, meanwhile, worked to justify one of the worst attacks on South Korean territory since the 1950-53 Korean War. Four South Koreans, including two civilians, died after the North rained artillery on the small Yellow Sea island of Yeonpyeong, which is home to both fishing communities and military bases.
North Korea said civilians were used as a "human shield" around artillery positions and lashed out at what it called a "propaganda campaign" against Pyongyang.
It claimed the United States orchestrated last Tuesday's clash so that it could stage joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea with the South that include a U.S. nuclear powered supercarrier — enraging the North and making neighboring China uneasy.
Only eight months ago, according to the findings of a South Korean-led international investigation, a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship in waters farther west, killing 46 sailors.
The aggression could be linked to the North's attempt to strengthen its government as it pursues a delicate transfer of power from leader Kim Jong Il to a young, unproven son. It also may reflect Pyongyang's frustration that it has been unable to force a resumption of stalled international talks on receiving aid in return for nuclear disarmament.
The attack laid bare weaknesses 60 years after the Korean War in South Korea's defenses against the North, which does not recognize the border drawn by the U.N. at the close of the conflict and which considers waters around Yeonpyeong as its territory.
The skirmish prompted President Lee Myung-bak to replace his defense minister on Friday.
At a funeral Saturday near Seoul, South Korea's marine commander, Maj. Gen. You Nak-jun, vowed a "thousand-fold" retaliation for the attack. Dignitaries and relatives laid white flowers at an altar for the two marines killed in the North's attack. The mother of one of the victims fell forward in her chair in grief.
Passers-by paused at Seoul's main train station to watch funeral footage on a big screen. "Once the enemy attacks us, it is our duty to respond even more strongly," said student Jeon Hyun-soo, 19. "The South Korean people want this."
Elsewhere in Seoul, about 70 former special forces troops protested what they called the government's weak response and scuffled with riot police in front of the Defense Ministry, pummeling the riot troops' helmets with wooden stakes and spraying fire extinguishers.
"Let's go!" the activists shouted, as police, numbering several hundred, pushed back with shields.
North Korea's state news agency said that although "it is very regrettable, if it is true, that civilian casualties occurred on Yeonpyeong island, its responsibility lies in enemies' inhumane action of creating a 'human shield' by deploying civilians around artillery positions."
The North said its enemies are "now working hard to dramatize 'civilian casualties' as part of its propaganda campaign." South Korea was conducting artillery drills Tuesday from the island, located just 7 miles (11 kilometers) from North Korea's mainland, but fired away from the mainland.
The North said it warned South Korea to halt the drills on the morning of the attack, as part of "superhuman efforts to prevent the clash to the last moment." The North said that Sunday's planned U.S.-South Korean war games showed that the United States was "the arch criminal who deliberately planned the incident and wire-pulled it behind the scene."
North Korea on Saturday warned of retaliatory attacks creating a "sea of fire" if its territory is violated.
President Lee told top officials "there is a possibility North Korea may take provocative actions during the (joint) exercise," and urged them to coordinate with U.S. forces to counter any such move, according to a spokesman in the president's office who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing official protocol.
Washington and Seoul have pressed China to use its influence on Pyongyang to ease tensions. A dispatch from Chinese state media on Friday — saying Beijing's foreign minister had met with the North Korean ambassador — appeared to be an effort to trumpet China's role as a responsible actor and placate the U.S. and the South. China is impoverished North Korea's biggest benefactor and its only major ally.
Let's really test North Korea and see how far they will go since their people are starving and they do not have the resources to fight a war. South Korea has to show some force and threaten North Korea enough so they will not attack again.
November 10, 2010
We in the US have a very serious problem on our southern border. As I have said before, only the military can solve the violence across our southern border. Drugs and guns equal violence.
The Mexican government is losing ground against the drug cartels and the government may lose control of its population, laws, and goverance. The US is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Mexican government to train them and help them fight the drug runners. It boils down to the US and Mexico securing its border--very simple.
A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives initiative to reduce the flow of weapons from the United States to Mexico has "significant weaknesses" that undermine its effectiveness, including ATF's failure to share intelligence information with Mexican authorities and some of its U.S. law enforcement partners, a report said Tuesday.
Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said deficiencies were identified in Project Gunrunner, despite increased ATF activity associated with the program, including the number of cases initiated and referred for prosecution and an increase in gun-dealer compliance inspections on the Southwest border.
"Drug traffickers have turned to the United States as a primary source of weapons, and these drug traffickers routinely smuggle guns from the United States into Mexico," Mr. Fine said. "Despite the increased ATF activity associated with Project Gunrunner, we found that significant weaknesses in ATF's implementation of Project Gunrunner undermine its effectiveness."
ATF began Project Gunrunner as a pilot program in Texas in 2005 and expanded it into a national initiative in 2006. Agents and investigators were assigned along the border to increase "strategic coverage" of the region and disrupt firearms-trafficking corridors.
As war rages between rival drug cartels in Mexico, ATF and other law-enforcement agencies have seized thousands of firearms, including assault rifles, semiautomatic rifles, grenade launchers, pistols and .38 caliber "Super" pistols. More than 31,000 people have been killed across Mexico since December 2006 in that nation's ongoing drug war.
The ATF has said Project Gunrunner sought to deprive the drug cartels of weapons, suppress firearms trafficking and stem gun violence on both sides of the border.
But Mr. Fine said a review of the project identified deficiencies in ATF's intelligence tracking and information sharing. The IG's office said ATF does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with Mexican and with other federal law enforcement agencies.
The 138-page report also said intelligence personnel in ATF's Southwest border field divisions do not routinely share firearms-trafficking intelligence with each other. It said the ATF focuses largely on inspections of gun dealers and investigations of "straw purchasers," rather than on higher-level traffickers, smugglers and the ultimate recipients of the trafficked guns.
The report noted that 68 percent of Project Gunrunner prosecutions were single-defendant cases; that some ATF managers discouraged field personnel from conducting complex conspiracy investigations targeting higher-level members of trafficking rings; and that ATF also has not made fuller use of federal law enforcement resources to conduct more complex conspiracy investigations.
It also said the majority of recovered guns in Mexico were not traced, although trace requests to ATF for guns recovered in Mexico increased from 5,834 in fiscal 2004 to 22,000 in fiscal 2009. It said most trace requests from Mexico are considered "unsuccessful" because of missing or improperly entered gun data. It also noted that ATF had a substantial backlog in responding to requests for information from Mexican authorities.
ATF Deputy Director Kenneth E. Melson, in a letter to the Inspector General's Office in response to the report, said the agency was "concerned that the review did not adequately reflect the challenges that the United States and Mexico face in seeking to reduce violence, gun and drug trafficking along the border.
As one can see, the human trafficking, drug running, and killings are a real threat to our national security.
February 28, 2010
Both Maryland and Virginia are trying to lure the Northrop Grumman headquarters to its state. Who will win this selection? It will be based on taxes, safe neighborhoods, quality of life, transportation, office space, a business-friendly approach, and other perks that are normally offered by the state's business development office.
I predict Virginia will offer Northrop Grumman the best option as I will discuss below.
Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. says it's moving its corporate office from Los Angeles to the Washington area to be closer to key government customers and will move by 2011. Northrop said it was looking for a location in the Washington area, including the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. It plans to pick a site by this spring and open the office in summer 2011.
The corporate office will house only 300 of Northrop's 120,000 employees worldwide but give it a symbolic and physical tie to the nation's capital. Other defense contractors are located near Washington, including Lockheed Martin Corp., which is based in the suburb of Bethesda, Md.
Northrop said about 30,000 employees would remain in California to perform research, development and manufacturing. The company's aerospace systems sector is based in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Jack Northrop founded Northrop Aircraft Inc. in California in 1939. The company built jet fighters for the United States and other militaries, then expanded to make guided missiles, the B-2 stealth bomber and other defense systems. Northrop also provides electronics, shipbuilding and technical services to government customers and other companies.
Virginia has lower taxes, a business-friendly Governor and legislature, more affordable housing, a better quality of life that includes safer streets, better road and mass transit ssytems, and better office space choices.
Maryland offers a union mentality, a spend-thrift Governor and legislature, higher taxes, and a lower quality of life. This includes the fact that Maryland welcomes illegal immigrants so there is more crime, more MS-13 gangs, and higher taxes to pay for the illegals. Also, the state has pushed the fact that they are gay and homosexual-friendly and are pushing this unpopular liberal agenda.
Maryland is losing more and more citizens because they are getting fed up with a Democrat controlled state that taxes too much, spends too much, does not protect their citizens, and pushs ultra-liberal social agendas.
May 31, 2009
Both the Clinton and Bush administrations were wrong in their approach to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons. One cannot deal with a dictator who seeks free international aid and money, yet is not trustworthy in any negotiations. Stop giving any aid to North Korea.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Saturday said North Korea had a stark choice -- to remain a pariah or "chart a new course" - but suggested that the Obama administration would not return to a policy of trying to bribe Pyongyang to stop building nuclear weapons. The Obama administration is totally correct on stopping aid to this dictator.
Five days after North Korea tested a nuclear device for the second time, Mr. Gates issued a tough warning to the reclusive state, "The choice to continue as a destitute, international pariah, or chart a new course, is North Korea's alone to make," The world is waiting."
The defense secretary said the U.S. would protect itself and its allies if North Korea escalates further. At the same time, he suggested that the Obama administration would not pursue a policy followed by its two predecessors. North Korean leaders "create a crisis, and then the rest of us pay a price to return to the status-quo ante," he told the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security conference in Singapore organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Mr. Gates referred to steps North Korea took in 2002 and 2003 to expel U.N. inspectors from its main nuclear plant at Yongbyon and begin producing plutonium for atomic weapons after the collapse of a prior agreement with the United States. In 2007, during six-nation negotiations, Pyongyang agreed to disable the complex in exchange for a series of economic benefits from the U.S. and the four other countries in the talks - South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.
Until 2002, Yongbyon was frozen under the 1994 accord known as the Agreed Framework, which was negotiated after another crisis created by the North, and gave North Korea various economic benefits, including heavy fuel oil and the foundation for two civilian nuclear reactors.
"As the expression goes in the United States, 'I'm tired of buying the same horse twice,' " Mr. Gates said Saturday in an allusion to Yongbyon's freezing or disablement. The Obama administration has asked Congress for $100 million in economic aid for the communist state as part of the six-party talks in next year's budget, but that money looks unlikely to be spent as North Korea continues a belligerent response to U.S. overtures.
"Clearly, we've taught them bad habits," said Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005 and is also attending the Singapore conference. "They sold Yongbyon to Bill Clinton once, to George Bush twice, and I have no doubt that they will try to sell it to Mr. Obama."
North Korea's bad behavior should not be rewarded and that the US should not be blackmailed. It is time to be tough with North Korea. It is time for a total blockade of North Korea. If this had been accomplished 8 or 16 years ago, we would not have nuclear weapons in North Korea or Iran.