11 June 2010

Probing the Fence Line

If you want to attack a facility that is protected by a fence festooned with intrusion sensors, the first thing you want to do is to nullify the sensors. You could try to disable them, but that would only give the guards inside warning of your attack. The best thing is to train the guards to ignore the intrusion sensors, at least for long enough to give you time to establish a position of tactical advantage. So, you cut loose some of the tumbleweeds around the fence. You might entice some of the local animals to interact with the fence. Anything to generate a random sequence of false alarms until the guards get tired of checking out each one. Then you can risk a little jiggling as you get inside.

That lesson from a retired U.S. Navy Seal is what I thought of when I learned of the Israeli encounter with the "Freedom Flotilla" sent by Hamas sympathizers to challenge Israel's blockade of Gaza. Send a ship full of food and aid, no contraband, and a few rowdies ready to make trouble. When the Israelis board the ship to inspect it, mob them, beat them with clubs and sticks (some say metal rods). Now clubs, sticks, and rods are not "deadly weapons" in the same way guns are, but you can kill a man by beating him with clubs, rods, and sticks. You can kill a man by beating him with your fists, if he doesn't fight back. Given that they were being beaten by a crowd that vastly outnumbered them, it isn't surprising that the Israeli commandos started shooting their guns. It was that or be killed. One might fault the Israelis for letting themselves get into a situation where they would have to use such deadly force, but it would have taken a lot more ships and commandos to control the situation without such intensity of force.

In any case, the result was a made for television and blogosphere media event. Mean powerful Israelis bullying innocent people trying to help starving Palestinians in Gaza. And a successful probing attack, to be followed by many others, to break Israel's will to continue the blockade. This will then be followed by another season of rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, once the Palestinians get rockets shipped from (indirectly or otherwise) Iran. Then another round of Israeli soldiers on the ground in the Gaza strip, followed by another blockade.

It would be nice if the cycle could be broken. Heck, it might even help if Israel could hire a Public Relations firm as good as those working for the Palestinians. There is plenty of material for them. To start, note that the term Palestina was coined by the Roman Empire so that it could make a better case for removing the Judeans (Jews) from their land, which previously had been called Judea.

Here is a video telling the other side of the story:

Maritime Martyrs from CJHS on Vimeo.

And there has also been violence on the border between the US and Mexico. A boy threw rocks at a US Border Patrol Agent, who then shot the boy. There is some discussion that the boy might have been acting as a decoy for smugglers, but who knows? In effect it was another successful probing attack on the fence line. But there is also talk on the right in America about making the border with Mexico harder and shallower - by putting up a guarded wall.

I would prefer making the border softer and deeper - by creating a joint US-Mexican governmental authority to manage the transient population of Mexicans who want to enter the US to do temporary or seasonal work. To make sure they are well treated and reasonably paid. And to vet them so as to keep the criminals out.

We may also have to legalize marijuana just to knock the profit out of the business. We will then get a taste of what China went through when Western interests forced it to legalize the opium trade. But it would be a setback for Mexican drug cartels. And both the Mexican and US governments need them to be set back.

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