May 6, 2013
In the brazen propaganda piece below, CBS’ 60 Minutes lavishes praise on the latest gimmick in the militarization of police. Leslie Stahl travels to Springfield, Massachusetts to cover “counterinsurgency cops,” state police who have adopted COIN (an acronym for counterinsurgency) operations cloned from Iraq and Afghanistan to address drugs and gangs. Appropriately, the segment is subtitled “Military tactics fight street crime.”
In December, 2009 I wrote about an article published in Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement. The article, available as a PDF, argues that suspected criminals in the United States should be treated the same as “insurgents” are in Iraq. The author of the article, Donald J. Mihalek, suggests cops borrow tactics from General David Petraeus, who formulated an eight point counterinsurgency plan to deal with elements in Iraq opposed to the occupation of their country.
“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.
The 60 Minutes piece dwells on the stability and support component of the so-called counterinsurgency program in Massachusetts, but says little about offensive and defensive operations. We see friendly police officers interacting with the community and a SWAT police raid on a suspected drug house, but are not told about the darker and more ominous side of the operation that is invariably present when police act like soldiers in a militarily occupied country.
The drug and gang problem in Springfield does not require a quasi-military response and “counterinsurgency” techniques devised by the CIA. The idea that government is responsible for curing social problems was alien to the founders and they are not addressed in the Constitution.
First and foremost, the so-called “war on drugs” has done the exact opposite of what government leaders and officialdom claim it was created to do. If drugs were decriminalized and government prevented from enforcing archaic and counter productive drug laws, gang violence would disappear almost immediately. Gangs in large cities like New York and Chicago thrive on dealing illicit drugs and gang violence is directly related to turf wars only marginally different from those engaged in by Mafia operations during government enforced prohibition.
Moreover, the violence plaguing Chicago and New York would disappear in short order if government in those cities repealed restrictions on the Second Amendment. Criminals understand that an unarmed populace is easy to victimize and intimidate.
Instead of common sense solutions to social problems, we are told over and over – as we are in the feel-good 60 Minutes segment above – that only government wielding an increasingly heavy-handed “zero tolerance” military response bundled with tough love is capable of solving problems created by government in the first place.
The federal government continues to fund and promote this kind of military response. The feds, however, are not interested in curing social ills. The federal government is primarily interested in establishing a military presence – a standing army of the kind abhorred by the founders – in society at large in order to maintain a corporate and bankster status quo.
It is also interested in establishing a high-tech surveillance and police state in order to prevent political opposition. History is replete with examples of government engaging in this sort of behavior under the guise of protecting citizens who are regarded as either victims to be fleeced or enemies to be eliminated.
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