February 4, 2013
Marines and sailors will invade Jasper County, South Carolina, this week, The Island Packet reported on Sunday.
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will train in the town of Ridgeland, the county seat, in preparation for “deployment to Mediterranean and African shores,” 2nd Lt. Gerard R. Farao told the newspaper.
The training will be coordinated with local, county and state agencies and officials, including the Ridgeland police and fire departments, a Marine Corps news release states.
Residents are warned “training could take place at any time” this week in the town and they will “likely see and hear military vehicles and possibly see aircraft” along with soldiers in uniform carrying weapons.
“Some exercises will take place at night. Residents might hear ‘popping’ sounds as Marines fire blanks. The blanks do not pose a hazard for residents, Farao said,” the Beaufort Gazette reports. “Although there is no danger, Farao said residents should stay away if they see training under way or uniformed personnel.”
Military training exercises simulating urban combat are now routine across the country. Last week we reported on exercises in Miami, Houston and Galveston, Texas. Over the past year, the Pentagon has conducted training exercises – often without warning and to the surprise and concern of civilians – in Massachusetts, Los Angeles, South Florida, South Dakota, Minneapolis, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.
The Pentagon insists these exercises are necessary for urban combat situations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the months ahead, Africa, where it insists al-Qaeda is active.
However, the exercises have a more immediate and important function – to acclimate civilians at home to the presence of combat soldiers working in concert with militarized police with the blessing of local officials (and often with funding provided by the federal government).
The founders understood that standing armies pose a serious threat to liberty. “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty,” said James Madison. He also warned that no “nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
“A standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly happen,” warned Madison’s vice president, Elbridge Gerry. He added that standing armies are “the bane of liberty.”
Thomas Jefferson lamented that a provision against standing armies was not included in the Constitution. “Nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace,” he said in 1801. “The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force,” he wrote to Chandler Price.
Far too many Americans understand the great danger a standing army – and one that actively trains with local police, often at the behest of “an overgrown Executive” – is to the preservation of liberty.