December 1, 2009
In an article published in the February, 2010, issue of Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement (a print magazine not available online), Donald J. Mihalek argues that suspected criminals in the United States should be treated the same way “insurgents” are in Iraq.
|A scan of the article. Click the above image to download the article in PDF format.|
“With violent crime increasing in many American cities,” writes Mihalek, “it is easy to think of criminals as an ‘insurgency’…. This growing insurgent behavior includes shootings of civilians, a growing trend of gang violence and an increase in narcotics related kidnapping. The trends point to a need for a renewed strategy to fight violent crime.”
Mihalek suggests cops borrow from General David Petraeus, who formulated an eight point counterinsurgency plan to deal with elements in Iraq opposed to the occupation of their country. Petraeus’ FM 3-24 is a final draft on counterinsurgency and spans nearly 250 pages.
Petraeus’ COIN (the popular acronym for counterinsurgency) doctrine is an extension on the Pentagon’s “full spectrum dominance” as devised by the neocons prior to and during George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. Full-spectrum dominance is a military concept whereby a joint military structure achieves control over all elements of the “battlespace” using land, air, maritime and space based assets.
“It’s important to recognize the most important overarching doctrinal concept that our Army, in particular, has adopted — the concept of ‘full spectrum operations.’ This concept holds that all military operations are some mix of offensive, defensive, and stability and support operations. In other words, you’ve always got to be thinking not just about the conventional forms of combat — offensive and defensive operations — but also about the stability and support component,” Petraeus told Foreign Policy, a a bimonthly magazine founded by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and subsequently purchased by The Washington Post Company.
In FM 3-24’s overview, Petraeus and his coauthor write that the Iraq COIN doctrine contains both new and old elements. Traditional COIN tactics used in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Algeria, and much of the third world include population control (relocation of the population), “oil spot” (concentration of counter-insurgent forces into an expanding, secured zone), population monitoring (checkpoints and national identity cards), and cordon and search.
The U.S. COIN doctrine includes psychological warfare (planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions) and information warfare (spreading of propaganda or disinformation to demoralize the enemy and the public). Psychological and information warfare are currently used against the American public (for instance, the US Army 4th Psychological Operations Group was active at both NPR and CNN, while the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird compromised a large segment of the corporate media beginning in the early 1950s).
[efoods]For COIN to work domestically, the United States will need to be turned into a police state under military occupation. Think Fallujah and the so-called “Strategic Hamlets” of Vietnam. Think Gestapo, Stasi and secret police.
In Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and Counterterrorism, 1940-1990, Michael McClintock writes about the change in COIN after World War II, particularly during the Kennedy administration. “As terror was seen as integral to guerrilla tactics, the counterguerrilla would apply counterterror; guerilla organization (e.g., recruitment surveillance) would be mimicked by counterorganization. Counterorganization, taken to its entail, could (and often did) entail placing hundreds of thousands of people under virtual totalitarian control. Which combined with the psychological warfare technique of ideological indoctrination, totalitarian potential could become reality.”
For COIN to work as Mihalek suggests the United States will necessarily become a totalitarian military dictatorship (a process already well underway, as evidenced by the the passage of the Patriot Act — now used against suspected criminals in lieu of actual terrorists — violations of Posse Comitatus, the increasing presence of military troops on the streets in collaboration with law enforcement, and the ever-encroaching high-tech surveillance grid intruding on many aspects of public and private life).
It should be noted that terrorism is part of the COIN doctrine and it was advocated by so-called terrorism experts and the defense establishment in the 1980s. Pentagon legal consultant William V. O’Brien, for instance, writing on special operations, has justified wholesale terrorism as a way to win “low-intensity” conflicts. O’Brien has advocated “exceptions to the normal moral and legal constraints” on military action. Murder and terrorism “may be presumed to be justified by a high and urgent necessity that may require sacrifice of other values such as some of the normal moral — legal constraints.”
“The suggestion that war crimes are acceptable in small doses, the selective ideal of special warfare, recalls the 1967 army manual’s warning that only selective counterterror is legitimate (‘i.e. genocide is not an alternative’),” writes McClintock. “O’Brien’s warning not to go too far bears the same double message — that war crimes are to be expected but should not be excessive in number.”
Donald J. Mihalek argues that these horrendous and illegal techniques (although he does not mention them specifically) should be brought to the United States and practiced by police against “civilians” who may or may not be guilty of a crime.
That this disturbing article was published in a trade journal tailored for law enforcement is another indication that police around the country — increasingly federalized and militarized — are being indoctrinated to believe police work is related to the activities of the military.