How Did Phillip Garrido Keep His Secret?

The sordid story of Phillip Garrido, convicted sex offender and alleged kidnapper and rapist, boggles the mind.

Here you have a career criminal who manages to snatch an 11 year old girl off the street and hold her for 18 years! Allegedly.

And father two children by her. Allegedly.

While his wife looked on? Allegedly. As details of Garrido’s past come to light, you’ve got to wonder if any child is safe, anywhere.

It now seems the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard was the culmination of Phillip Garrido’s long criminal career.

He and his wife managed to abduct and keep her captive while being under the “supervision” of law enforcement the whole time. His rap sheet makes you wonder how he was even walking the street in 1991.

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In 1977 he was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for kidnapping and raping a 25 year old woman, and taking her across state lines from California to Nevada.

A Nevada court sentenced him to 5 years to life in the same case.

You would think that would be that?

50 years as well as 5 to life.

Yet Phillip Garrido was paroled on the federal beef in 1988, then sent to serve the Nevada sentence. However, he was automatically eligible for parole because of the federal time he served. After four trips to the parole board, Garrido was freed in August 1988. That would be three years before he allegedly kidnapped Jaycee Dugard.

You do the maths.

Phillip Garrido served about 20% of his federal sentence. Had he done just one third of his time, he wouldn’t have been out to snatch this young girl. And all this doesn’t begin to explain how Garrido managed to keep Dugard and their two children together so well hidden. Two years after the abduction, he was jailed on a parole violation. Aside from that, the guy was a convicted sex offender. Yet it doesn’t appear that parole officials or anyone else in California found anything wrong with Phillip Dugard. Not even when a 911 call brought police to his home in 2006. That call alleged that children were living in tents behind his house.

So what do we have here? Is it that there isn’t enough money spent on supervising parolees? Is it that law enforcement didn’t dig deep enough to find the tents housing Jaycee Dugard and her kids on Phillip Garrido’s property?

The question must also be asked, what kind of monster does this to an innocent child of 11? And how do you explain to two children, ages 11 and 15, the horror that brought them into this world?

So many questions. So few answers. Do you have any?

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More Troops to Afghanistan?

As a person who detests war in all its forms, my short answer would be, “I hope not!” Yet it looks like President Barack Obama is toying with the idea. There’s a new report from the top US commander in Afghanistan, one the New York Times describes as detailing the deteriorating situation there.

The Times says the classified report, by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, didn’t ask for additional US troops, but that request could be coming soon.

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If and when it does, it will come at a time when Americans are increasingly asking the same questions that were being asked about Iraq just a few years ago. What exactly is the mission? What constitutes victory? How much longer will US troops fight and die for a regime that many here see as hopelessly corrupt?

President Barack Obama has a dilemma on his hands. For many of his supporters, sending more troops to Afghanistan, regardless of rationale, isn’t “Change we can believe in”.  The recent Afghan elections are alleged to have been rife with fraud, fraud on behalf of the guy the US is backing, Hamid Karzai. Reports say his government only controls one third of the country, about the same as it did four years ago.

The Taliban, America’s clear enemy in the region, seems to materialize and vanish at will, making President Obama’s possible call for more troops look like an exercise in futility. There are rising references to Afghanistan being “Obama’s Vietnam”, a quagmire that will only deepen no matter how many more troops are sent.

And now conservative columnist George Will, of all people, has an op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Post calling for the US to get out, and soon. His rationale is telling. From his WAPO piece:

“U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000, to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.

So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters”.

To which we can only say, whoa! Certainly a substantial reduction in US troops poses some potential political problems for the president. Yet the facts are clear. More US military personnel died in August in Afghanistan than at any time since the beginning of the war. The war is now eight years old, twice as long as World War II.

So the question is this. Should President Obama commit more US troops to Afghanistan, or should he start a gradual reduction with an eye toward withdrawal? You tell me.

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