War always comes home...

Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying that, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Well, you can actually add one more certainty to that list: Wars always come home. That’s right. While the people who start wars never think about it or plan for it, wars always come home.

After World War II and the Korean War, thousands of American soldiers came home with PTSD, and other mental wounds of war. Unfortunately, they never received the treatment and help they needed. After Vietnam, American soldiers came home with PTSD and they also came home carrying diseases thanks to exposure to Agent Orange. Today, that exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam is still being felt. After the first Gulf War, American soldiers came home with high levels of depleted uranium in their blood, and had children who were born with debilitating birth defects. And that brings us to today, in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tens of thousands of soldiers have come home with missing limbs, traumatic brain injuries, and hundreds of thousands have PTSD. But the soldiers aren’t the only ones who have come home. The defense contractors have come home too, and in the name of making a buck, they’re selling their Iraq and Afghanistan weapons of war to police departments all across our nation. And even worse, the militarization of our local police forces is being promoted by Congress.

Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the federal government, with approval from Congress, has given billions and billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment to state and local police forces. In fact, an analysis done earlier this summer by the New York Times found that since 2006, police departments across America have received 435 armored vehicles, 533 planes, 93,763 machine guns, and last, but not least, 432 mine-resistant armored trucks, because you never know when you’re going to run into ISIS-laid mines on Main Street USA.

Congress first authorized the transfer of military equipment to local police forces back in the early 1990’s, with the launching of the 1033 Program. According to the ACLU, the 1033 Program, launched as part of the 1989 National Defense Authorization Act and to promote the mind-numbingly stupid War on Drugs, “initially authorized the transfer of equipment that was ‘suitable for use by such agencies in counterdrug activities.’” And in 1996, Congress made the 1033 Program permanent and even expanded it so that more military weapons could end up in local police precincts.

Since the birth of the 1033 Program, local and state law enforcement agencies have received around $4.3 billion worth of equipment. And in 2013, police agencies across the country were using $450 million worth of military weapons and equipment. And as you can see with the events down in Ferguson, Missouri, local police departments often overuse all of this battlefield weaponry. In a report released over the summer, the ACLU found that 79% of SWAT team deployments across America between 2011 and 2012 were for simple search warrants, often for non-violent crimes like drug offenses.

So, police are entering communities with tear-gas and rubber-bullet guns blazing and all dressed up in militarized riot gear, just to lock someone up for a minor offense. Just look at the scenes coming out of Ferguson this past week. Police officers clad in military gear. Armored trucks that should be on the battlefield in Syria. Tear gas grenades flying through the air. These should be scenes from the frontlines of a war. Not scenes from suburban America.

Even Rand Paul, editorializing in today's Time Magazine, agrees this is insane. The scenes coming out of Ferguson illustrate the stupidity of war and the stupidity of our corrupt political system putting weapons of war on our streets, just to pad the wallets of the multi-billion dollar defense contractors who own our politicians.

There’s a huge body of research - starting with the Milgram Experiments - that shows that when you take a normal, everyday person and give them authority and anonymity, they will more often than not behave in anti-social and even violent ways. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing with the police in Ferguson, who are acting more like an occupying army than men and women who are supposed to protect and serve the community.

This insanity has to stop. Now. It’s time to demilitarize our police and shut down government-sponsored programs that send weapons of war to small towns across America. There’s already enough bloodshed on the frontlines of war. We don’t need more bloodshed on Main Street USA.

Comments

catman306's picture
catman306 8 years 6 weeks ago
#1

WWBW?

(What Would Billionaires Want?)

In the best tradition of 'Divide and Conquer' they'd probably prefer a violent race war as opposed to a violent class war.

Since the feds, state and most of the local governments ultimately do the bidding of the super rich, what we are seeing is happening with the blessings of the billionaires.

If, for instance, there is a great deal of property insurance that will be paid out in that area there will probably be no more violence in Ferguson. That violence will be generated somewhere else in that case. Police can shoot unarmed black young people anywhere.

But widespread racially motivated violence removes a great deal of pressure for billionaires from:
the climate change political and technological issues
the fossil fuel industries
and generally from any changes to the 'status quo' way of American Business.

Any casualty of a race war will probably not be a participant in a class war.

mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 8 years 6 weeks ago
#2

I am a 70 year old white male who grew up in the segregated South. Although I was exposed and taught to hate blacks, I was able to escape racism at the age of twelve due to a "negro" friend I made. I ate in his home, which was full of love and understanding. I met "Daddy Grace" and attended one of his services with my "friend". Too many of my peers did not escape racism and even today they remain closeted racist. The Supreme Court recently declared that the voting rights act, that protected minorities from discrimination in voting, was no longer necessary because “racism” no longer exist. What a bold face lie! While the killing of this young black boy is tragic and heartbreaking, it is just one of thousands we never know about. We have lost our Constitutional Republic to money and corruption and are rapidly becoming a ”police state”, which will be used to protect the interest of “greed”, when all Americans of all colors rise up to retake our country from the oligarchs. This is not just a race issue, but a calculated plan leading us toward fascism. Wake up America and take to the streets in peaceful protest of all the crimes of our leaders over the past thirty-five years.

mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 8 years 6 weeks ago
#3

I agree with your sentiments and do believe we are rapidly becoming a "police state" financed by oligarchs to protect them from the "masses". What's happening now in Furguson, Missouri should be a wake up call to all Americans to this move toward fascism. What I hope for is not a race or class war, but an unified movement of all Americans to do what is necessary to retake our governments from those plutocrats who have stolen our Constitutional Republic. I would prefer to wage this war through the ballot box, but I believe in the right granted to us by our founding fathers to overthrow any government that does not serve the needs of the people, by any means necessary.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 8 years 6 weeks ago
#4

What we are looking at to a great degree is the result of Nixon's drug war. A law that was created by a criminal and a law that is propagated and supported by criminals that couldn't care less about our constitutional protections against such tyranny. With any drug prohibition comes police corruption. All a cop has to do is say, "I smell Marijuana," and the cop can do anything he wants to you that is of course unconstitutional. All prohibitions do is give the police and the government too much power over citizens. The cops have to piss in a cup and the resent anyone that has the freedom to not have to piss in a cup. They don't have any freedom, so they sure don't want anyone else to. The greedy corporations love war, any kind of war that they can profit form, including the drug war. They buy off politicians as if they are buying pets and that's why our government is in shambles. If we don't get rid of these unconstitutional laws, then we will continue to live in a country that resembles Germany, 1939. One of the first steps we need to make is impeaching the five crooks that are occupying our Supreme Court of the United States. They are bought and paid for and this is no way to run a country.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 6 weeks ago
#5

The white Bundy Ranch Teabaggers point weapons at law enforcement and walk away free. The Ferguson protestors, as well as Occupy protestors, simply by exercising their First Amendment, end up under domestic military attack. One group votes for rule by the billionaires , the other for rule by "We the People." I still think, based on history, things are about to explode. This country is finished.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#6

There is strength in numbers and it wouldn't take many to overwhelm the bastards..they did it in Revolutionary France and they managed to lop off about 13,000 Aristocrat's heads. Nothing changes unless the people revolt, en masse. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

ScottFromOz 8 years 6 weeks ago
#7

I would add one other truth: Those that start the wars are the ones who benefit from them, but are never the ones who actually fight or die in them.

richinfolsom 8 years 6 weeks ago
#8

I reflected today on the recent militia grandstanding in Nevada, coming with their high powered weapons positioned to murder law enforcement officers under the pretense of freedom - I guess the freedom to not pay user fees and taxes. The cool heads of law enforcement prevailed.

The supremacists alleged the Boston Marathon bombers were part of a government plot.

Seveal officers were murdered late last year by a supremacist lying in wait.

Just last month, Stockton CA police found themselves in a long lasting gun battle with heavilty armed bank robbers who took hostages. Three or four people were killed.

Perhaps we are sitting on a hair pin trigger not seen since the Watts Riots or worse. The guns have been drawn in the most heavily armed nation on earth with cultural role models like Rocky, The Terminator, and all the while bombarded by genocide in Iraq, the forever war in Palenstein, the fear of the collapse of the dollar, and these are the end days.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Got a match?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 6 weeks ago
#9

What we are witnessing is the inevitable next phase of Fascism In America. My dear comrades, you guys are all spot-on. WOW what a freak show!

Tonight on Democracy Now, I saw a couple of photos that chilled me right to the bone. They showed a slender young black man with long hair down his back, unarmed, dressed in a blue teeshirt and jeans, standing with arms raised before a cluster of heavily armed police in camoflage military garb. They had their weapons drawn, aimed right at the young fellow. He looked small and vulnerable standing there. It creeped me out. One of those photos gave a side view of this ugly spectacle; the other showed the young man from behind, with those fascists in front of him. They were the most haunting images I’ve seen in quite awhile.

It must’ve taken superhuman courage for the photographer to have captured them, since it entailed putting himself (herself?) in harm’s way. People have died, or been hauled off to prison, for similarly selfless acts.

No wonder the police are trying to seize people's camcorders and cameras! These little devices are weapons more powerful than their guns.

So this is what we’ve come to. I hardly recognize my country anymore. Not that it was ever that great to begin with. But how much worse will it get?

It happens to be the anniversary of that massacre in Egypt, August of last year, when more than 800 peaceful protestors got slaughtered in the streets. Is this where we’re headed? I have to wonder…

You’re right, Mr. Brannon; it’s not just a race issue. It’s calculated, all right. And if we keep sliding down this slippery slope, young black men won’t be the only targets anymore. Remember that famous quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist… Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist… Then they came for the Jews…” And now my friends, they’re coming after young black men. Who’s next? Are we gonna wait until they come after us?

It looked like that long-haired guy was facing a fucking firing squad. With all my heart, I pray he survived his encounter with those ugly gestapo pigs. - Aliceinwonderland

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 6 weeks ago
#10

PAL -- Nothing change with lopping off heads. Nothing changed the second time (Les Misrables) also.

FDR did change things. Follow FDR not the French revolutionaires.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#11

chuckle8: The only reason FDR changed things was because they feared a second "French Revolution" in the US. You know, there was a lot of civil unrest during the days that preceded FDR. They feared that they, too, would lose their heads in another American Revolution..and this second American Revolution wouldn't be against the British, it would be against the criminal Fascist bastards that have ruined America with their greed.

Rodger97321's picture
Rodger97321 8 years 6 weeks ago
#12

The posts are unnumbered and the quote option is absent - so here goes anyway.

Pal wrote:

There is strength in numbers and it wouldn't take many to overwhelm the bastards..they did it in Revolutionary France and they managed to lop off about 13,000 Aristocrat's heads. Nothing changes unless the people revolt, en masse. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

And thanks to the recent revelations from the Ferguson PD (which have been implicited validated by the DOJ and Supreme Courts for use in these United States by the stunning silence in opposition to it) for having shown the way.

Step 1. Collect a grand-child or great-grand-child of a .01% offender. [ We may have to give Blackwater/Xi/Academi one last season of work for this. ] In the course of reducing the child into manageable parts have them make note of any property which becomes soiled by any of various bodily fluids during the process so that actualy charges can be filed and the rest of the family rounded up for arrest and processing accordingly.

Step 2. Wow. No need for a step two. That does work fast.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 6 weeks ago
#13

Palin, I just love those fiesty posts displayed alongside that ranting l'il devil of yours. They compliment quite well dahlin', don't you think? - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#14

danke schön and shukran, AliceinWonderland! Yes, I guess they do.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#15

Rodger97321: Thanks, I didn't realize that Blackwater/Xi is also known by Academi. And doing a search I found that 400 Academi mercinaries had been fighting with the Ukraine military against the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Maybe they shot down MH17. Wouldn't put it past them, or past the US for being behind it.

Quote RT:About 400 elite mercenaries from the notorious US private security firm Academi (formerly Blackwater) are taking part in the Ukrainian military operation against anti-government protesters in southeastern regions of the country, German media reports.

http://rt.com/news/158212-academi-blackwater-ukraine-military/

And that article was from May, 2014...I guess I can't catch everything...although I try.

Also this:

Quote same source: Greystone Limited, which is currently registered in Barbados and is a part of Academi Corporation, is a candidate for such a gendarme role. It is a similar and probably an affiliated structure of the Blackwater private army, whose staff have been accused of cruel and systematic violations of human rights in various trouble spots on many occasions.

These slithery devils just keep popping up under new names, don't they?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#16

A country (the US) that has proven that it has the propensity and the will to torture people and murder millions of civilians, including thousands of it's own citizens (9/11 and the deaths of our soldiers in an illegal war), and the proven history of having shot down a civilian airliner (Iran..USS Vincennes) makes me believe that they would have no problem at all in shooting down MH17 for the purpose of framing the Ukraine separatists and Russia.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#17

An organization called "Million Veteran Program", from the Department of Veteran Affairs is mailing out a "Baseline Survey" to all Veterans. I have done a search to see if this is legit and found a whitehouse.gov site that talks about it. Problem is that any time anyone, even the government, tries to collect sensitive personal information about people, it may not always be in the best interest of any of us to let them have it. Hitler bought IBM tabulating machines to keep personal information on people...especially, the Jews. So much of our personal data is already known about us and stored in repositories. How will this information be used either for us or against us one day in the future? Their color photos and marketing propaganda, at the whitehouse.gov website, to sell this to the people may sound like it is for our benefit. But, is it really? Do we trust a government that has sold most of us out to the finance companies and banks and corporations?

The letter says, in part, that "By completing all or some of these question, you 1) voluntarily consenting to participate in this survey and 2) agreeing to have a one-time MVP study visit scheduled.

During this one-time study visit, MVP study staff will discuss participation in MVP and ask you to provide a blood sample. This blood sample will be stored and used for future research on health, disease, illness, or condition.

The survey asks you, among other things, Demographics: how much money you make, how many in your household, race, marital status, education, etc. Physical features: eyes and hair color, skin color, etc. Military Experience:....
Activities and habits:...Health Status:....Medical history:...

It says that the information will be kept confidential and secure according to VA policy. It says that the survey has a "study code" instead of "your name" to maintain confidentiality. But, of course, the survey is addressed to your name and address and the "study code" is connected to your name and address so they know exactly who and where you are. Oh, and they also want your phone number.

One thing they will have, if you participate and go to those "study visits", is your DNA. I suppose, those of us who have gone to the VA clinic's labs for blood tests already have our DNA anyway. But, this looks to me like it is just a massive collection of DNA that can be used to identify people...that will, one day, possibly be used against you. One day, the Fascists may be looking for us for committing the crime of peaceful demonstrations.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 6 weeks ago
#18

PAL -- Back to the FDR thing. Threat of revolution seems to be effective. Actual revolution seems to feel good and accomplish very little.

FDR was threatened by the veterans on the national mall and on the other side he was threatened by a military coup (thanks Smedley Butler for saving us). I think there was a significant possibility that if the 99% had mustered a violent revolution, the military coup people would have used that as an excuse to carry out their plans.

Interestingly, in the words of today's dicussion those military coup people would be Blackwater.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#19
Quote chuckle8:Actual revolution seems to feel good and accomplish very little.
The French and Russian and American Revolutions all changed things quite a bit, I'd say. They accomplished ousting out the arrogant ruling elite and ushered in a new world. It took a while for the oscillations to dampen out to a stable system but we are no longer ruled by Kings or Czars although we've been ruled by dictators and fake democracies since. It seems to be a cyclical thing. But, it always takes violence to oust them. A fake democracy will never do it. Playing their rigged game will only keep us deceived for a little while.

Yes, thank goodness for Maj-Gen Smedley Butler. Today, we have people like Edward Snowden to show us that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 6 weeks ago
#20

PAL -- The American revolution accomplished a lot. Other than lopping off of heads (which may be enough) did not accomplish much. As a matter of fact they had a second French revolution a few years latter (the subject of Les Miserables) and it also had little effect. I should point out that I know nothing, and I heard all this from Thom.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#21

chuckle8: That is all quite true, however, they don't have a monarch now, do they? All revolutions are followed by a shaking out period that have to settle down. If France had not had a revolution, if Russia had not had a revolution, if the US had not had a revolution, we'd all still be living under a very different system of government now. As a matter of fact, I've read that the politicians of France, and the wealthy elite of France, still haven't quite gotten over the specter of the guillotine and get quite nervous when their people demonstrate.

As a matter of fact, had there not been those revolutions, I doubt that we would even have anything close to a system of democracy now. And it looks like our system of democracy has been gamed so that in effect it is really more like a plutocracy (ruled by "aristocrats") that likes to pretend it is a democracy. Some people may believe that it is time to start sharpening their blades once again. I suspect the people of Ferguson may be predisposed to that idea.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 6 weeks ago
#22
Quote Barbara Tuckman: Every successful revolution puts on in time the robes of the tyrant it has deposed.

So, yes, revolutions do not make permanent change; but without them, nothing would change. We'd still be ruled by Kings and Czars and Emperors and Dictators. Some historians might argue that a revolution every now and then is not a bad idea. Not all people are created equal...some excel at conniving others out of their wealth, property and power. And eventually, cliques form...perhaps familial or otherwise. Some even may exploit the gullibility of the people's propensity to believe in superstitious things...like the sanctity of their superior station by fictitious, immortal, mythical beings.

The bullies force their will upon the others. Most people just want to live peaceful lives bringing up a family and are usually too busy trying to do so to be very wary of the the dangers lurking in their midst. Before long, before they know it, they are backed into a corner. The manipulators have slowly rigged the game in their favor and there is no other means of fighting back unless they manage to lash out en masse...with others who have been screwed. All it takes is a spark or several sparks to ignite a rebellion. And every time these things happen, the ruling elite gets a little nervous. They begin to change things a little...until the energy of the rebellion is played out and then they can go back to their exploitative games once again. Nothing really does change unless these flare ups happen. For a truly systemic change, like what FDR did, there has to be many more flare ups nationwide. Things happened to improve our situation in the FDR era and things changed to improve our situation in the anti-Vietnam era. Then Reagan came along and was used as the vehicle by the ruling elite to swing the pendulum back in the other direction.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 6 weeks ago
#23

PAL -- Per Thom, the violent revolutions in France slowed down the process of democratization. Violent revolutions seem to have a much better chance of succeeding if the ruling government is not indigenous. Great Britain was able to rid themselves of autocratic rule without a violent revolution. India and South Africa showed that non-violence has hope of ridding themselves of autocratic rule.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 6 weeks ago
#24

PAL -- The "pendulum" for FDR had swung to 33% unemployment before action could happen. We are around 7%. I think these measures are of the same thing, since we know real unemployment is around 17% now. So the 33% may have been 50%. In any case, our mission on the left is to make something happen when the pendulum is only at 7%.

UNC Tarheels's picture
UNC Tarheels 8 years 6 weeks ago
#25

So the police should not have Glocks and automatic rifles but should carry snub nosed 5 shot .38's and .12 guage shotguns. Meanwhile the bad guys have uzi's and AK-47's!

lets go back and review the Bank of America robbery in 1997. The bank robbers had machine guns with large capacity magazines and body armor . Severla police officers were shot and the police had to go to the gunstore down the street and borrow semi auto M16's because the had Glocks , 38's and shot guns.

http://youtu.be/LrlUsaYlKPs

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout

The North Hollywood shootout was an armed confrontation between two heavily armed and armored bank robbers and officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in the North Hollywood district of Los Angeles on February 28, 1997. Both robbers were killed, eleven police officers and seven civilians were injured, and numerous vehicles and other property were damaged or destroyed by the nearly 2,000 rounds of ammunition fired by the robbers and police.

At 9:17 AM, Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu entered and robbed the North Hollywood Bank of America branch. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu were confronted by LAPD officers when they exited the bank and a shootout between the officers and robbers ensued. The two robbers attempted to flee the scene, Phillips on foot and Mătăsăreanu in their getaway vehicle, while continuing to engage the officers. The shootout continued onto a residential street adjacent to the bank until Phillips was mortally wounded, including by a self-inflicted gunshot wound; Mătăsăreanu was killed by officers three blocks away. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu are believed to have robbed at least two other banks using virtually identical methods by taking control of the entire bank and firing automatic weapons chambered in intermediate cartridges for control and entry past 'bullet-proof' security doors, and are possible suspects in two armored vehicle robberies.

Local patrol officers at the time were typically armed with their standard issue 9 mm or .38 Special pistols, with some having a 12-gauge shotgun available in their cars. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu carried illegally modified fully automatic Norinco Type 56 S-1s, a Bushmaster XM15 Dissipator, and a HK-91 rifle with high capacity drum magazines and ammunition capable of penetrating vehicles and police Kevlar vests. The bank robbers wore body armor which successfully deflected bullets and shotgun shells fired by the responding patrolmen. SWAT eventually arrived bearing sufficient firepower, and they commandeered an armored truck to evacuate the wounded. Several officers also appropriated AR-15 rifles from a nearby firearms dealer. The incident sparked debate on the need for patrol officers to upgrade their capabilities in similar situations in the future.

Due to the large number of injuries, rounds fired, weapons used, and overall length of the shootout, it is regarded as one of the longest and bloodiest events in American police history.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 5 weeks ago
#26

Tarheels, sometimes it is the police who are the "bad guys", if not in the situation you've described.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 5 weeks ago
#27
Quote chuckle8:...our mission on the left is to make something happen when the pendulum is only at 7%.
Good luck with that! The unemployment rate in Ferguson is something like 25%. And while the Black population in Ferguson is something like 75%. I wonder what the unemployment rate of Blacks in Ferguson compared to whites in Ferguson is?

In Pre-revolutionary France, the Aristocracy refused to pay their taxes putting the burden over on people who had very little to give. I think that a comparison could be made with the US right now. It certainly is not as bad here as it was there and then. It was even worse than what we experienced in the US in the 20s and 30s and 40s. Actually, it went back to the later 19th century where people were barely squeezing out a living and working enough hours to kill them. I believe that it will eventually get much worse here. And when it does, there will be a hell of a lot of unrest in the US. Ferguson is just the beginning.

Napoleon was really dynamite wasn't he? ;-}

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 5 weeks ago
#28

UNC -- Let's take the UZI's and AK-47's out of the bank robber's hands. Vote democratic; especially, for those candidates who the NRA give 20% or less rating.

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