I've been pondering the Constitution of late, particularly how the GOP and Congress have been completely shirking their responsibility to it in recent years.
Let's visit with an Amendment I bet no one thinks much of, that being #3:
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Reading it some 227 years later, it seems like a quaint throwback to the Colonial Era. Surely nobody is going to be sticking soldiers in anybody's houses in the 21st century?
Take a look at this vehicle:
This is something called an "MRAP", or Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected. After a number of years in Iraq, we discovered that the initial Humvees we sent with our troops were essentially sitting ducks, and over the years special vehicles were designed, tested, and rushed into production. Like most wartime things, they were designed for one thing, and they do indeed do it well.
Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP; /ˈɛmræp/ em-rap) is an American term for vehicles that are designed specifically to withstand improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes. Armored vehicles designed specifically to counter the land mine threat were first used during the Rhodesian Bush War; the technology was subsequently matured by the South African Defence Force with development of the Casspir armored fighting vehicle, which inspired the American MRAP program and was the basis for some of the program's vehicles. From 2007 until 2012 the Pentagon's MRAP program deployed more than 12,000 MRAPs in the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan. Some MRAPs left behind, originally intended for the rebuilt Iraqi Army, have been captured and used by ISIS.
But look at the photo again. That vehicle isn't at war; it's here in the United States in civilian police livery. I have written about this briefly in the past; there is a program within the Pentagon now to transfer heavily armed and armoured military grade vehicles to civilian police departments for free!
But for what purpose? Jim Hightower
had one of his two-minute broadcasts on this particular subject earlier in the week, and he pretty much raised all the questions one needs to ask.
From 1776 forward, Americas have opposed having soldiers do police work on our soil, but in recent years, Pentagon chiefs have teamed up with police chiefs to circumvent that prohibition, How? Simply by militarizing police departments.
Through the little-known "military transfer program," the Pentagon has been shipping massive amounts of surplus war equipment to our local gendarmes. This reflects a fundamental rewiring of the mindset now guiding neighborhood policing. Police chiefs today commonly send out squads brandishing heavy arms and garbed in riot gear for peaceful situations. Recruiting videos now feature clips of SWAT-team officers dressed in black, hurling flash grenades into a home, then storming the house, firing automatic weapons. Who wants anyone recruited by that video working their neighborhood?
As a city councilman in rural Wisconsin commented when told his police were getting a nine-foot-tall armored vehicle: "Somebody has to be the first to say, 'Why are we doing this?'" The New York Times reports that the town's police chief responded that, "There's always a possibility of violence." Really? Who threatens us with such mayhem that every burg needs a war-zone armory and a commando mentality?
Astonishingly, a sheriff's spokesman in suburban Indianapolis offered this answer: Veterans. The sheriff's department needed a mine-resistant armored vehicle, he explained, to defend itself against US veterans returning from the Afghanistan war. War veterans, he said, "have the ability and knowledge to build [homemade bombs] and to defeat law enforcement techniques."
That is lame, loopy, insulting, shameful, and just plain stupid. Maybe he just forgot to pack his brain when he left for work that day. But I'm afraid it’s a window into the altered mindset of police chiefs and trainers.
Go back and read that Amendment again. Check around; we've all got family and neighbors that likely wear the uniform. While they may not be forcibly living in private housing at the behest of the government, they are living amongst us.
Civilians...running around with military-grade armour and equipment, acting like soldiers, conveniently without the years of training and excercises that a typical combat soldier would have. Like the saying goes...'when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.'