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Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Are all war correspondents

ex-Sgt. Rock comic book writers?

I am taking up a collection for a noble cause this week. You can drop your donations by the Enterprise.

I am collecting money to send to The New York Times, NBC, CNN and company.

The money is so that between them, they can hire one reporter to report on things military such as the war in Afghanistan.

This new reporter will have two qualifications:

1) He will have shouldered a rifle and a rucksack at least once in his life and will know the difference between a helicopter and a tank.

2) He will not think he is the next Hemingway or a script writer for a comic book.

With our new man in place perhaps we will not be subjected to the the kind of verbal foolishness that is the mainstay of television news and wire reports coming out of Afghanistan.

Such as....

"U.S. jets carpet-bombed the mountains..."we were told recently — not by a general, or a captain, or even a slick-sleeve private, but simply by Ms. Reporter.

Excuse me Miss, but do you know the difference between carpet-bombing, strategic bombing, or car bombing?

I did not think so.

Then there are the "intense firefights."

Is there such a thing as a laid-back firefight?

I doubt it. Try again Hemingway.

How about the "well armed" Taliban troops?

Surely you jest.You would have to compare the Taliban to a herd of rock throwing chimps to call them well armed. The bulk of the Taliban weaponry is 1960s vintage Communist Bloc stuff. It is a lot better than rocks but compared to the stuff America fields, it is junk.

Every guy in a turban may have a Kalishnakov and they may have some artillery and other such crew-served weapons, but well armed they are not.

Then we have the "fierce bombardments."

Thank you again Hemingway. If you had not told me how fierce it was I would not have gotten the point.

Yesterday I read once and heard twice how three Chinook helicopters where "zooming" around in the mountains in Afghanistan.

The only thing a Ch-46 Chinook ever zoomed past was my 1946 pickup truck. Chugged yes. Zoomed, no.

Come on folks, get out the old checkbook and come see me. Otherwise our national news reports are going to continue sounding like bad Sgt. Rock comics written by gum-popping teenie-boppers during a writers' strike.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at

Our View

Air power -- the silver bullet of modern war?

Since the start of the Afghanistan campaign conservatives have generally denounced any criticism of Bush's tactics and the use of military force in general as unpatriotic, liberal whining.

In the latest edition of the Limbaugh Letter, Rush Limbaugh makes big fun of anyone who suggested that a conflict in Afghanistan might prove to be anything but a walk in the park.

Rush and company seem convinced that massive use of airpower combined with selective use of special operations units is the new silver bullet of modern warfare.

Well, most of the liberal Left's whining was just that — knee jerk whimpering about anything resembling America acting like the world leader it is.

While the Left's criticisms may be motivated from the political ideology of the weak, many of the criticisms brought forth are grounded in fact and history.

Historically, Afghanistan has been unconquerable. Countries at the height of power have tried and failed from the British Empire to the Soviet Union.

Why was Afghanistan such a tough nut to crack?

Because those countries tried to subdue Afghanistan.

In doing so, they united the Afghan people against a common enemy.

In our war, so far, we have fought one faction of the Afghan political scene and pitted other Afghan's against these enemies. The Taliban was forced to fight a conventional war against the Northern Alliance, a war where victory was measured by control of land.

The Taliban tried to fight a conventional war against a far superior power _ and tied to the land that symbolized their power _ were easily destroyed through superior air power that roamed the skies at will.

Fighting the Taliban is one thing. Fighting Afghanistan is another.

We can beat the Taliban.

We cannot beat Afghanistan, or at least we are not willing to pay the price that victory will demand.

Americans need to realize that.

Had the Taliban been willing to fade away into the mountains and operate as guerillas against our allied forces as they and the Northern Alliance did against the Russians ten years ago, the story would be different.

Guerrilla warfare measures victory in casualties and stalemate. The guerilla is not tied to a city or a given plot of land. He chooses his ground as suits him, operates when the conditions favor a quick, limited victory, and stays hidden and dispersed the rest of the time.

Air power is of only limited use in such a battle.

And Bush need be wary of allowing this war to shift into a guerilla conflict.

Public relations is the key. We cannot let ourselves be portrayed as invaders.

If that happens, we risk allowing the conflict in Afghanistan to metomorphasize from a limited war against criminals with whom the people of Afghanistan have little in common, into a war where we are an occupying force hated by most of the populace.

In that war, we will discover that there is no such thing as a bloodless, high-tech victory versus determined guerrilla forces fighting in and for their homeland.

Your View

Some things just don't make sense

Dear Editor:
I think the law should require that you pay your  taxes up to date before you try to claim a salary form the  tax money you haven't paid. What if the taxpayers  decided to pay the public officials their salaries in a payment  plan instead of paying them when their checks were due?  I don't think it makes sense for a person to run for  office and claim that they are a successful businessman if  every business they own either owes delinquent taxes or is  no longer in business.


May the best man win

Dear Editor:
I'd like to take this time to write a little something  about all the politicians running for office.

Although, I would run out of room; I guess I'd rather just like to express my opinion and say that in the County Judge race, Jimmy Galindo and Louis Matta are two very professional businessmen with great character. I know there are some people who have negative things to say about both, but that comes with politics.

I just wish both parties the best of luck and may the best man win. I hope a fair and accurate race and outcome will prevail. To all other candidates, I wish the same and by the laws of the constitution of these United States of America and the good will and integrity of our fellow Pecos Citizens and community shall we get someone in office that will do a good job in supporting our community as we desperately need good leadership.

Thank you for your time and freedom to make these comments.

Sincerely Peace and Love,

Galindo digs out dirty laundry to win election

Dear Editor:
Seems to me Mr. Galindo is trying to win this election too hard or he  is getting worried. I'm wondering it's been a long time since we have had  a dance here in Pecos. We have to go out-of-town to go to a dance. I  heard that the reason they don't have dances anymore here is cause  the good and famous bands cost a lot of money. And yet on Feb. 26, 2002  I was reading the newspaper that Jimmy B. Galindo is bringing  "Ruben Ramos" to the Riverside Ballroom.

Question: where did Jimmy B. Galindo and his friends get the money from? Ruben Ramos is one of the best and good bands around this area.

And another thing, what does taxes have to do with elections? Everybody owe's taxes. Mr. Galindo getting dirty laundry out of the closet is no way to win the election. I wish you and Mr. Matta all the luck in the world. But lets keep it clean for the sake of our children.


Matta wrong on RCDC proposals

Dear Editor:
This letter is in reference to a political flyer I recently  discovered in my mailbox. The flyer was a  political advertisement paid for by Louis J. Matta, who is a candidate for  Reeves County Judge. I do not agree with the method used to distribute  the flyer, as placing flyers in a receptacle, designated for U.S. Mail,  without proper postage is not only an invasion of one's privacy, but  also illegal. However, I am sure Mr. Matta is not aware members of his  political party are utilizing illegal techniques to promote his campaign.  Therefore, I will address the issues that prompted me to write this letter.

Several topics were addressed in the flyer, including Mr. Matta's professional and civic accomplishments, which are quite impressive. However, issues concerning the Reeves County Detention Center were also addressed. Mr. Matta apparently believes that the R.C.D.C. executive staff should be residents of Reeves County because "Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars are lost to Reeves County because those paychecks are not spent or invested locally!!" I realize this issue may concern some citizens of Reeves County, but I believe these are citizens who are misinformed or unaware of the numerous goals that have been accomplished by the R.C.D.C. Executive Staff.

Before the arrival of Warden Franco, the Reeves County Detention Center, then known as L.E.C., housed 500 inmates and employed less than 200 staff members. The R.C.D.C. now houses 2000 inmates and employs over 400 staff members.

In 1993, a correctional officer began with an annual salary of $13,500 and possibilities for advancements were minimal because of limited positions. Many employees qualified for government assistance, also known as welfare, during that time period. Now, the annual salary of a new correctional officer is $19,000 and possibilities of advancement have tripled. The R.C.D.C. is also in the process of completing a third prison, which will raise the number of employees to over 600, which includes additional supervisory positions and chances for advancement.

These goals could not be reached when local citizens were in executive positions at the R.C.D.C. Therefore, I believe the executive staffs expertise and professional experiences with the Bureau of Prisons, and corrections in general, far outweigh the money Reeves County has lost to their non-residential employment. Many citizens of Reeves County spend their money in Odessa or surrounding towns because of limited local resources. So, maybe Mr. Matta should address that issue instead of singling out the residential status of a select few.

Mr. Matta also believes local qualified residents should receive training, so they would qualify for executive positions at the R.C.D.C.. I agree that qualified residents should have an opportunity to hold executive positions at the prison. But, college degrees and training in the correctional field cannot compare to the years of experience and expertise held by the current executive staff.

I hope Mr. Matta is not basing his political agenda on the opinions of a few disgruntled former R.C.D.C. employees or misinformed citizens. As misguided decisions, concerning the R.C.D.C., could prove disastrous to the very existence of the prison and Reeves County as a whole.

At one point, Reeves County nearly lost the contract with the Bureau of Prisons, due to misguided decisions, and the B.O.P. had literally deployed transportation buses to the rear gate of the facility, ready to remove all inmates from the prison, until an agreement was reached. Many jobs were in jeopardy because of one decision. Hopefully, we will not experience a similar scenario because of future decisions. I am not voicing my support for either candidate. I am only addressing issues that concern the well being of R.C.D.C. employees and Reeves County in general. The focus on Mr. Matta was brought upon by himself, as he elected to include these issues in his political campaign.


Citizen criticizes Galindo for having dance during Lent

Dear Editor:
Jimmy B. Galindo's last political move was to pay thousands of  dollars for a top name tejano band to come to Pecos. He figures that we  the citizens are so shallow that a dance will convince us that he should be  re-elected for another four years. He expects us to forget and put aside  his terrible record for the past eight years. Sorry, Charlie, that is not  going to happen. Having a dance during Lent is about the dumbest thing  he could do, and an insult to us Catholics. How about going  to church and studying our faith before trying to buy our vote.

All of a sudden Galindo is showing up at church trying to make us think that now he goes to church all the time. Let me tell you, he does not. Politicians like him don't care about anything but staying in office. WE need to go to the polls starting now and vote against him. WE need to give our vote to Matta. At least we can be sure he won't be lying to us.


Local citizen has several concerns

Dear Editor:
As a voter and taxpayer, I have some concerns I  would like to address to other voters and taxpayers of  Reeves County:

* Who decided and why to move the Reeves County tax office to Dick Slack's Office? In Jimmy Galindo's campaign treasure report published in the paper, Dick Slack was listed as a large contributor. How much rent is the county going to pay Mr. Slack for this office space? Why move the County Tax office out of the County Court House to pay rent?

* Attorney Bill Weinacht automatically receives the $50,000.00 per year position as the attorney for RCDC with the approval of Jimmy Galindo's commissioner's court. Do other local attomey's have the opportunity to bid on this job?

* Recently, an elderly lady reported to police and election officials that her mail-in ballot (she did not request) was taken from her home by a Reeves County employee and Jimmy Galindo campaign worker. This is not the only instance of this nature during this campaign.

* In the Jimmy Galindo letter to the Attorney General he published as an ad in the paper, Galindo stated he heard the McCain representatives speaking of closing Anchor West, once it was purchased. Jimmy Galindo and his commissioner's court should have taken action on this issue immediately! Instead, he waited until it was too late, to only use this attempted effort for his campaign.

* The gossip heard around town, is that Jimmy Galindo paid $15,000.00 for the band that played for his free campaign dance. Where did that kind of money come from? This position of County Judge must have become very lucrative for him.

Is Jimmy Galindo taking advantage of the people of Reeves County? Maybe so, you are either in his "click" or barely making a living. If you do not go along with his unethical business tactics, he will, bully or try to intimidate you. That is no way to run the County. He must be replaced before Reeves County will prosper again.

Reeves Co. Citizen,

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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