Militarization of Society

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I recently flew out of state to a resort town for a week's vacation, the first time in 20 years.

In the hotel where I was staying, there were several Air Force personnel also staying.  I saw them everyday in full uniform fatigues, boots and camouflage.  I remarked to my companion, why weren't these people in the barracks?  We were close to a large base.  My companion, who doesn't share my political leanings, but is not a right-winger, replied that they are just like anyone else, they're probably here for a seminar or some sort of training and the government arranges with private hotels to provide lodging.  He wasn't concerned about having all these uniformed military persons around.  Don't they have "office" uniforms or uniforms besides the boots and camouflage?

As I was waiting at the airport, I saw airport police walking in what appeared to me to be a routine patrol.  I think I counted nine officers, four in the front and four in the rear, they all looked like typical police officers.  In the middle was another typical-looking police officer, except this one was carrying what appeared to be a military-style assault rifle.  I would call it an M-16 but I know nothing about firearms, it was something I had never seen a police officer carry.


I'm really surprised that

I'm really surprised that there are no comments.  Are other people seeing police with military rifles? I live in Los Angeles, lots of police, lots of special events with heavy deployments - I was shocked.

I went on a tour of the Pentagon in the 1980's and everyone wasn't in fatigues.  I did some research and apparently what I saw were "Airman Battle Uniforms." Every branch of the armed forces seems to have "service uniforms" and informal attire.

Redwing's picture
Take a trip to

Take a trip to Israel.

In the Air Force, we had two

In the Air Force, we had two sets of uniforms.  One was for work, commonly called fatigues.  The other was for wearing in public, commonly called service uniforms.  Fatigues were not permitted in public unless traveling or on military business.  The service uniforms came in two flavors: Class A (formal), and Class B (informal).  Both of these were very uncomfortable, but popular at the Pentagon.  I fall in line with your companion.  I don't have any concern about seeing people in uniform.  I do find it interesting when I see a uniform far away from a military installation.

Living in Europe made me accustomed to seeing police carrying heavy firepower.  So when I moved back to the US, I found it unusual that American police did not carry something more significant than a pistol.  Anyone watching the news knows that the bad guys are arming themselves with heavier firearms, so I think it is appropriate for the police to keep up.  I, for one, would not like to see a bad guy with an AK class rifle facing a policeman holding a silly little 9mm Glock.

Well, we've had Special

Well, we've had Special Weapons And Tactics divisions for many years.

Granted, I'm seeing this through the lens of we-are-at-war-with-eastasia-we-have-always-been-at-war-with-eastasia.  But if were to don my armed-forces-friendly-fiscally-conservative cap, I might argue that a.) the servicepersons should be as comfortable as possible as often as possible, as the apparel for actual combat should necessarily be less comfortable; and b.) the apparel for actual combat should necessarily be more expensive and therefore used as little as possible.

chilidog, you are right on

chilidog, you are right on target.  Oops!  The TightenedSphincterAdministration's post-9-11 terrorism response has been to terrorize us out of that old silly civilian idea about keeping it in the barracks.  Now our support for the troops has to include our love for their fashion sense and swagger.  So post-Peace!

I see the rail flatcars lined up along I-5 south of Olympia where they can serve the Fort Lewis armory and get it out to our local neighborhoods.  Makes the militia idiots look like comic book characters compared to the real threat.  Paranoia is not a recreational drug.

I heard some rightwinger declare that the military was established in the Constitution, and in the general flood of lies, it got past the netminder.  Had it been, the 2nd Amendment would not be there.  They always want it both ways.

The draft protests were supposed to begin the national debate on what our national defense needs really were.  Instead of advancing the "free world," we were the last gasp of Neocolonial retreat.  How had that happened?  When did "the first New Nation" become the "Last Empire?"  Wasn't that Mushroom Cloud supposed to go away when we got on top of the mountain?  How did we miss the addictive power of fear?

I'm bumping this due to the

I'm bumping this due to the Boston bombings. 

Another thing: it seems we lower the flag to half-mast every other month.

nora's picture
In the rural area I commute

In the rural area I commute through, there is gated rural property where people in paramilitary gear seem to be busy frequently, but there are no government insignia or commercial signs (like for paint ball or something).  Is it contractor training?  If it is, that is equally disturbing.

Phaedrus76's picture
As someone who has spent alot

As someone who has spent alot of time at airports, both flying and working, cops with AR 15's are nothing new. They became more visible after Sept 11th, 2001. However every major airport has had a tactical response team since the 1970's, with all the skyjackings that were all the rage back then. Those 747's and Learjets and BJB's all cost a ton of money, the fuel storage is expensive and easily flammable, 9-11 terrorists, DB Cooper etc etc etc.

The biggest change after 9-11 has been the tactical team members will walk through the public areas as a show of force, whereas pre 9-11 they were kept in areas of limited access, and on the tarmac. If you ever go the FBO's where the private planes fly out from, at most airports, the parking spot on the tarmac where the tactical cops perch in their SUV's with the AR15's are very visible. It makes the rich folks feel like they're getting their monies' worth. That and they can assist the Customs and DEA inspections for the private jets.