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—  Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

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Dave Merrick is running for Malone Town Justice.  (Yes, he’s the son of Don and Debbie Merrick. Don, as many of you know, was Principal at Franklin Academy for many years.  Debbie was a celebrated obstetrics nurse at Alice Hyde.)  Their son David, a Tenth Mountain Division veteran who saw combat in Somalia, is a sergeant in the Malone Village Police Department.
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If you’re like me, and have little clue about the Somalia campaign, here’s a glimpse of what it was like.
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Alpha Company landed at Baledogle Air Base the first week of Operation Restore Hope Eager to tangle with the warlord gangs.  Instead, the enemy disappeared into the red dirt like ants just before the rain. . . . At first nothing in Somalia worked. The ports and airfields were like the rest of the country: rusted, busted, or ripped off. . . . To Somalis, the US grunts — dressed in combat helmets and flak jackets and armed to the teeth – must have looked like giants from another planet. Their rules of engagement were sledgehammer simple and as loose as I have ever seen: fire if threatened. Early on, gang members in three Somali vehicles made the mistake of firing at a USMC Cobra helicopter. “Say your prayers, varmint,” muttered the pilot as he went in for the kill. He melted them like a candle in a bonfire. A machine gunner in a gun-mounted “technical” vehicle trained his weapon on a squad of Marines and was taken out by leatherneck fire.  Now the word is, Don’t mess with Operation Restore Hope.

Only a few weeks ago Mogadishu was an armed camp. Almost everyone, including 12-year-old punks, had AK-47’s. Now the gangs have stashed their AK-47s and gotten out of town. . . .

The military calls the tactical approach behind Operation Restore Hope the “oil blot.”  Once a new center is opened, food distribution and simple actions such as medical assistance and engineer support slowly seep out. As this blot grows larger, it connects with others, eventually covering the whole land. The technique used for seizing the major centers has been the same. First leaflets are dropped telling the people that the good guys are on the way. The next day Ambassador Oakley visits the target area to negotiate a nonviolent reception. The following day the muscle arrives, spearheaded by a paunchy squad of CIA hands who Rambo-in like something out of a bad B movie.  They are followed by a fast-moving rifle company well-covered by helicopter gunships and fighter aircraft. Food distribution and assistance soon get underway. This week the last two major cities . . . should be free, and Somalia, a country the size of Texas, should be under US-UN control.

— Newsweek Magazine Jan 4,1993, p. 39.

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The man risked his life to liberate Somali civilians from the thugs who had muscled in and taken over.

This, however, is not the reason this publication supports his candidacy for Town Justice.  We are more interested in his role as a senior officer on the Malone police force.

What do you see in the picture at the top of this page?  “A cop!” you reply.  You’re right, although you’re missing something.  “Okay, an old cop!”  You’re getting warm, but still no cigar.

“Okay, dammit, what are you getting at?”

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