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Russian death squads ‘pulverise’ Chechens
TimesOnLine ^ | April 26, 2009 | Mark Franchetti

Posted on 04/26/2009 6:38:53 PM PDT by lynn4303

THE hunt for a nest of female suicide bombers in Chechnya led an elite group of Russian special forces commandos to a small village deep in the countryside. There they surrounded a modest house just before dawn to be sure of catching their quarry unawares. When the order came to storm the single-storey property, dozens of heavily armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms - unmarked to conceal their identity - had no difficulty in overwhelming the three women inside. Their captives were driven to a military base.

(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: chechnya; chechnyaputin; intelligence; putin; terror; torture
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THE hunt for a nest of female suicide bombers in Chechnya led an elite group of Russian special forces commandos to a small village deep in the countryside. There they surrounded a modest house just before dawn to be sure of catching their quarry unawares.

When the order came to storm the single-storey property, dozens of heavily armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms - unmarked to conceal their identity - had no difficulty in overwhelming the three women inside. Their captives were driven to a military base.

The soldiers were responding to a tip-off that the eldest of the three, who was in her forties, had been indoctrinating women to sacrifice themselves in Chechnya’s ferocious war between Islamic militants and the Russians. The others captured with her were her latest recruits. One was barely 15.

“At first the older one denied everything,” said a senior special forces officer last week. “Then we roughed her up and gave her electric shocks. She provided us with good information. Once we were done with her we shot her in the head.

Related Links Russia ends Chechnya war - but killings continue Death squad stalks exiled Chechens “We disposed of her body in a field. We placed an artillery shell between her legs and one over her chest, added several 200-gram TNT blocks and blew her to smithereens. The trick is to make sure absolutely nothing is left. No body, no proof, no problem.” The technique was known as pulverisation.

The young recruits were taken away by another unit for further interrogation before they, too, were executed.

The account is one of a series given to The Sunday Times by two special forces officers who fought the militants in Chechnya over a period of 10 years. Their testimony, the first of its kind to a foreign journalist, provides startling insights into the operation of secret Russian death squads during one of the most brutal conflicts since the second world war.

The men, decorated veterans of more than 40 tours of duty in Chechnya, said not only suspected rebels but also people close to them were systematically tracked, abducted, tortured and killed. Intelligence was often extracted by breaking their limbs with a hammer, administering electric shocks and forcing men to perform sexual acts on each other. The bodies were either buried in unmarked pits or pulverised.

Far from being the work of a few ruthless mavericks, such methods were widely used among special forces, the men said. They were backed by their superiors on the understanding that operations were to be carried out covertly and that any officers who were caught risked prosecution: the Russian government publicly condemns torture and extrajudicial killings and denies that its army committed war crimes in Chechnya.

In practice, said Andrei and Vladimir, the second officer, the Kremlin turned a blind eye. “Anyone in power who took the slightest interest in the war knows this was going on,” Andrei said. “Our only aim was to wipe out the terrorists.”

The two officers expressed pride in their contribution to the special forces’ “success” in containing the terrorist threat. But they spoke on condition they would not be named.

Andrei, who was badly wounded in the war, said he took part in the killing of at least 10 alleged female suicide bombers. In a separate incident he had a wounded female sniper tied up and ordered a tank to drive over her.

He also participated in one of the most brutal revenge sprees by Russian forces. Following the 2002 killings of two agents from the FSB security service and two soldiers from Russia’s equivalent of the SAS, the troops hunted down 200 Chechens said to be linked to the attacks.

In another operation, Andrei’s unit stumbled across dozens of wounded fighters in a cellar being used as a field hospital. Some were being tended by female relatives. “The fighters who were well enough to be interrogated were taken away. We executed the others, together with some of the women,” he recalled. “That’s the only way to deal with terrorists.”

Following an inconclusive war in Chechnya from 1994-6, Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, launched a second war in 1999 and set the tone by vowing “to wipe out militants wherever they are, even in the outhouse”. More than 100,000 Chechens are thought to have died by the time the Kremlin declared earlier this month that it was over. Grozny, the capital, was all but flattened. Putin’s toughness earned him great popularity at home.

Acts of blood-curdling brutality were committed by both sides as the rebels tried to turn Chechnya into an Islamic state, often decapitating Russian prisoners. One Russian victim was filmed being mutilated with a chainsaw.

As the war raged, Chechen terrorists launched suicide attacks against civilians in the Moscow metro and at a rock festival. In 2002 a gang including 18 female suicide bombers seized more than 800 hostages in a Moscow theatre, 129 of whom died when the Russians pumped poisonous gas into the building on day three of the siege.

In their most savage act, the rebels took hundreds of school-children and their relatives hostage in Beslan. The three-day siege in 2004 ended with the deaths of 334 hostages, more than half of them children.

It was in this highly charged climate that the death squads were operating. Andrei recalled that his men had detained a suspect who had several videos of militants torturing Russian hostages. One showed him laughing as his comrades raped a 12-year-old girl and then shot off three of her fingers.

“We all went berserk after watching this,” said Andrei, who had begun to beat the suspect. “He fell to the ground. I ordered him to get up but he couldn’t because of his handcuffs. I ordered the cuffs off but something was wrong with the lock. I became angrier and ordered one of my sergeants to get them off no matter what.

“So he took an axe and chopped his arms off. The prisoner screamed in agony. Clearly it would have been impossible to interrogate him further so I shot him in the head.”

Andrei said he thought of his opponents not as human beings but as cockroaches to be squashed. He was unapologetic about acts of cruelty but said he did not condone excessive boasting among his men.

“I had a problem with one of my guys, who liked to collect ears which had been chopped off prisoners. He’d made a necklace and was very serious about taking this home. I did not like that kind of behaviour.”

The brutality continued after Moscow began to cede more control to Chechen special forces made up of former rebels who switched sides. Militias commanded by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin president, are also accused of abducting, torturing and executing suspects.

Vladimir said he had established a death squad that hunted down, tortured and executed more than 16 alleged militants in 2005. The squad’s commander would log a bogus mission in a faraway location in his unit’s official register to provide an alibi. “We’d break in, take the suspect and vanish. We’d duct-tape and handcuff them. If there was resistance we’d gun down the suspect. If, in the firefight, someone else got killed then we’d plant a gun on the dead person.”

Vladimir and his men referred to their prey as “zaichik” - a term of endearment used by lovers that means “little hare”.

“Only a very small circle of my men took part in this work. Some of those we abducted were tougher than others but eventually everyone talks when you give them the right treatment.

“We used several methods. We’d beat them to a pulp with our bare hands and with sticks. One very effective method is ‘the grand piano’ - when one by one we’d smash the captive’s fingers with a hammer. It’s dirty and difficult work. You would not be human if you enjoyed it but it was the only way to get this filth to talk.”

A hammer would also be used to smash a captive’s kneecaps and militants would be forced to perform sexual acts. The scenes would occasionally be filmed and circulated among enemy combatants in psychological warfare.

“You have to be a certain kind of person to do this job - very strong,” Vladimir said. “Those who carried it out always volunteered. It would not be right to order one of your men to torture someone. It can be morally and psychologically very tough.”

Andrei added: “What mattered most was to carry out this work professionally, not to leave evidence which could be traced back to us. Our bosses knew about such methods but there was a clear understanding that we should cover our tracks. We knew we'd be hung out to dry if we got caught.

“We are not murderers. We are officers engaged in a war against brutal terrorists who will stop at nothing, not even at killing children. They are animals and the only way to deal with them is to destroy them. There is no room for legal niceties in a war like this. Only those who were there can truly understand. I have no regrets. My conscience is clear.”

1 posted on 04/26/2009 6:38:53 PM PDT by lynn4303
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To: lynn4303
And we are concerned with how the world perceives our treatment of prisoners. It's a tough world out there and we are trying to be buddy's with those that would just as soon cut our head off. The Russians are considered civilized as compared to the other monsters. We better toughen up, or at least realize this isn't a game we are in.
2 posted on 04/26/2009 6:43:00 PM PDT by lynn4303
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To: lynn4303

The Russians are doing in Chechnya what we SHOULD be doing in the WOT, err, War on Man Made Catastrophes.


3 posted on 04/26/2009 6:44:41 PM PDT by GOPGuide
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To: lynn4303

The meanest dog in the fight always wins.


4 posted on 04/26/2009 6:44:44 PM PDT by Shaun_MD (Velius In Evidens Visum)
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To: lynn4303

“At first the older one denied everything,” said a senior special forces officer last week. “Then we roughed her up and gave her electric shocks.
She provided us with good information. Once we were done with her we shot her in the head.

At least they know how to deal with the terrorists.
No remorse.


5 posted on 04/26/2009 6:45:02 PM PDT by bill1952 (Power is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: bill1952

No, we’re supposed to hold hands with Kofi Annan and sing Kumbaya My Lord.


6 posted on 04/26/2009 6:45:56 PM PDT by GOPGuide
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To: bill1952

The Russians seem to understand what we have forgotten. Prisoners burn you. Every time.


7 posted on 04/26/2009 6:46:33 PM PDT by Shaun_MD (Velius In Evidens Visum)
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To: lynn4303

This is happening where, in Russia? Or Chechnya?


8 posted on 04/26/2009 6:47:37 PM PDT by Tax Government
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To: GOPGuide

You got that right.........the Russians don’t seem to be concerned about “world opinion” but we sure as hell are and I’m sick of it!


9 posted on 04/26/2009 6:47:57 PM PDT by Dawgreg (Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.)
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To: bill1952

And just how much yammering are our sensitive Eurobuddies doing about THIS? When they had kittens over our “waterboarding”?


10 posted on 04/26/2009 6:50:05 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: Dawgreg

Yes, and we want to prosecute our patriots!


11 posted on 04/26/2009 6:51:18 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: Tax Government

Looks like it’s in Chechnya.


12 posted on 04/26/2009 6:51:23 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: Dawgreg

Notice the media blackout?

Putin is a very clever man.

There is only one thing that matters in war. Who wins.

Despite the brutality of this war, this is Nancy Boy stuff compared to the battles of the Eastern Front.

Best,

Chris


13 posted on 04/26/2009 6:51:41 PM PDT by section9 (Major Motoko Kusanagi says, "Jesus is Coming. Everybody look busy...")
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Putin has his useful idiots well in line.
The Natural gas supply to the EU is working out very nicely for him. Surprise.


14 posted on 04/26/2009 6:51:58 PM PDT by bill1952 (Power is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: lynn4303
Good post lynn.

If anyone wants to know the kind of wars our ancestors fought to settle this country read " Life Among the Apaches" by John C. Cremony published in 1868. The American Indians were a brave but savage people and this kind of warfare was par for the course.

But that is not something our schools wish to teach anymore. So I am sure this article will be heartily condemned by all right thinking peoples. Until, that is, our ass is really on the line. Then we will either fight fire with fire or perish as unworthy of our ancestors achievement`. Such is the Iron Law of History.

15 posted on 04/26/2009 6:53:35 PM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: lynn4303
Somehow I cannot hope but wonder how Manfred Nowak, who serves as a U.N. special rapporteur (top anti-torture envoy) in Geneva, feels about this? He is most recently on record as waxing indignant about how the US MUST PROSECUTE the Bush Administration lawyers who authored those nasty memos defining torture down. After all, Mr. Nowak, an Austrian Law Professor, says; "That's exactly what I call complicity or participation" to torture as defined by the convention ...

Gee, I hope that he isn't reading this report, it would really soil his pants.

16 posted on 04/26/2009 6:54:08 PM PDT by SES1066 (Cycling to conserve, Conservative to save, Saving to Retire, will Retire to Cycle.)
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To: The_Media_never_lie

The only odd thing about this, is the claim of woman suicide bombers. They don’t get the equivalent of the 72 virgins of male Islamic “martyrs.” I thought that female suicide bombers were quite rare, and almost always forced into that role by cowardly men.


17 posted on 04/26/2009 6:54:31 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: GOPGuide

Well, at least they don’t waterboard them. That would be just too cruel. /s


18 posted on 04/26/2009 6:55:29 PM PDT by WVNan (Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.: Sun Tzu)
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To: lynn4303

But noticed that the Russians don’t engage in the horrific torture of waterboarding. (/sarc)


19 posted on 04/26/2009 6:56:51 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace
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To: lynn4303

But notice that the Russians don’t engage in the horrific torture of waterboarding. (/sarc)


20 posted on 04/26/2009 6:56:58 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace
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To: Shaun_MD

The Russians remember how the Chechen Muslims killed Russian children at that school in Beslan.


21 posted on 04/26/2009 6:57:05 PM PDT by Frantzie (Bumper Sticker idea: "Remember when Bush was President & Americans had jobs?")
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To: HiTech RedNeck

The Europeans fear the Russians. Reminds me of when Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussain. There was no bravado, or leading questions, or accusations. He truly feared (respected) what Saddam could do to him, and he minded his P’s and Q’s. World opinion doesn’t mean anything if your dead, or your defeated. Sometimes might does make right and respect does come from the end of a gun barrel.


22 posted on 04/26/2009 6:58:20 PM PDT by lynn4303
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To: lynn4303
“That’s the only way to deal with terrorists.”

If you read accounts of what it took to repel islam in centuries past, it is hard to disagree with that statement.

23 posted on 04/26/2009 6:58:37 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (Democrats, the party of evil. Republicans, the party of stupid.)
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To: Frantzie

There’s been no love lost between those two barbarian societies (though the Russkies slightly less barbarian).


24 posted on 04/26/2009 6:58:49 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: lynn4303

Incredible - not one use of the word “Muslim.” And even though “Islamic” is used, they were “indoctrinated.”

Then again, this is the Londanistan Times.


25 posted on 04/26/2009 7:00:28 PM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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To: Frantzie

I can understand that. Had it been one of my children in that school....


26 posted on 04/26/2009 7:01:32 PM PDT by Shaun_MD (Velius In Evidens Visum)
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To: RobinOfKingston

In centuries past it was slightly more humane — basically mass slaughter of the enemy. The Crusaders did not usually bother with torture.


27 posted on 04/26/2009 7:01:57 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: Talisker

But again, the female agents. That is not typical voluntary Islam.


28 posted on 04/26/2009 7:02:46 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: lynn4303

Chechens are the worst Islamists there are. I bet the Russians are laughing at us for worrying about water boarding.


29 posted on 04/26/2009 7:05:21 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Anti-Bubba182

Why would Chechens be worse than your typical Joe Taliban?

They are simply at mutual war with the Russians. Chechen captured Russians would receive an equally warm “welcome.”


30 posted on 04/26/2009 7:06:48 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
In wars of time past there were only 2 options - win or lose. There were no protracted peace, agreements to coexist, demilitarized zones. You won or lost. The other group ceased to exist and the problem went away forever, which led to peace. You never left your enemy in a position to strike you again
31 posted on 04/26/2009 7:06:54 PM PDT by lynn4303
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Oh I know. It is horrible how brutual humans can be towards each other. Sick and terribly sad.


32 posted on 04/26/2009 7:07:59 PM PDT by Frantzie (Bumper Sticker idea: "Remember when Bush was President & Americans had jobs?")
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To: Dawgreg

the Russians don’t seem to be concerned about “world opinion”


That’s the understatement of the year. The lifespan of a liberal lawyer type in Russia is less than a common housefly.


33 posted on 04/26/2009 7:08:00 PM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: Frantzie

Satan’s partying down all right, there and all over the world.


34 posted on 04/26/2009 7:10:00 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: Anti-Bubba182

Somalis are right upo there. They know how to get civil rights lawyers, endless govt benefits etc etc.


35 posted on 04/26/2009 7:10:29 PM PDT by Frantzie (Bumper Sticker idea: "Remember when Bush was President & Americans had jobs?")
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To: SES1066

Good point. When will the UN and the EU start screaming about prosecuting Putin?


36 posted on 04/26/2009 7:11:45 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: lynn4303

Liberals look at our society and think it is invulnerable. They believe they can impose any kind of foolishness on it to suit their conscience and it will survive. So far it has proven true. But the problem is that we will not recognize the straw that broke the camel’s back for decades—until it is much too late.


37 posted on 04/26/2009 7:12:11 PM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: samtheman

When will the UN and the EU start screaming about prosecuting Putin?


Never. Because they know he won’t take their sh!t. At best, he might shut off their gas supplies. At worst, they might have an unfortunate accident, courtesy of the KGB.


38 posted on 04/26/2009 7:14:01 PM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: samtheman

or whoever their high muckety muck is now (funny how he is less well known than Putin)


39 posted on 04/26/2009 7:14:59 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: rbg81
And the only opinion we should be concerned with is that you don't mess with America. We need to hit back 3 times harder each time we are attacked. The Muslims will understand us better if we are perceived as strong. Right now we appear if half our country is on their side. It was OK to hate the Germans and Japanese in WWII. It served a purpose. It's OK to hate the people wishing us dead. And it should be OK to loose the dogs of hell upon them. People want to hide in mountainous terrain? A small nuke will cure that. They know we won't do that, but just think if we did.
40 posted on 04/26/2009 7:16:15 PM PDT by lynn4303
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: rbg81

The only chance at invulnerability it has is its ability to shrug off such foolishness. Americans are simply not used to knuckling under on the scale of the serfs of the Soviet Union.


42 posted on 04/26/2009 7:16:49 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: SonOfPyrodex

Why were the 9/11 attackers all men?


43 posted on 04/26/2009 7:17:28 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: lynn4303

We have a naive society here in the U.S. — naive beyond belief — we (as a nation) argue over water boarding... while the fantical Jihadist world laughs at us.

Our fellow citizens think the world is a snowy Christmas and a snuggly Easter Bunny - all sweet and nice... and that is all there is... we just continue to go to Starbucks and tolerate our liberal neighbors in their quest for diversity ...

No one wants to resort to what the Russians did - but we do not want to be annihilated by radical Islahmist either... nor do we wish to be absorbed by migratory invasions ...

God Help Us.


44 posted on 04/26/2009 7:18:44 PM PDT by ICCtheWay
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Hate to say this, but most Americans are stupid plain and simple. They believe in fairy dust and unicorns. We have lost our sense of purpose and history and will likely get our head handed to us as a result.


45 posted on 04/26/2009 7:21:37 PM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: ICCtheWay
Yes, unfortunately it will probably take some Godly intervention, or 100,000 dead in an attack. Then we may decide to fight
46 posted on 04/26/2009 7:21:57 PM PDT by lynn4303
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To: ICCtheWay

Possibly, our all-wise elders would conclude that the Chechen-Russian barbarities are ONLY mutually inspired (after all, Chechens aren’t plotting against US targets) and that if we Kumbaya to the Islamic world it will be mollified. I think the Islamic world would be happy to infiltrate the USA on the sneak, if it believed that would get them to a world conquest faster than prematurely angering the locals.


47 posted on 04/26/2009 7:23:41 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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Comment #48 Removed by Moderator

To: lynn4303

Gitmo remedy.


49 posted on 04/26/2009 7:25:27 PM PDT by taxesareforever (Quick justice for the senseless killing of Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield.)
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To: rbg81

I think the problem is more that so many of the non-fairy-dust-and-unicorn Americans, who are still in the majority, won’t get off their duffs to even vote. 40% of potential American voters did NOT vote this past November. I’d sooner have seen a McLame government than our Obama one.


50 posted on 04/26/2009 7:29:52 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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