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As a member of the Profession of Arms I find the situation in Missouri disgusting.  What makes me even more disgusted is the idea that these goons represent what a "militarized" police for looks like.  It does not.  Soldiers are not police and they make very bad police when the are asked to be.  But they are professionals.  They follow orders.  They take responsibility for their actions.  They practice restraint and discrimination (the good kind).  And when they fail to do so they are held accountable.

More below the orange barrier.

As others have pointed out, the police in Ferguson are doing things soldiers cant.  When I was in Afghanistan I had to get permission from General Petraeus to use CS.  I wasnt going to get it. Ever.  Even the use of HC smoke was closely controlled because of the potential for choking when used in confined spaces.  

As Adam Weinstein said in his excellent Gawker article, nothing going on in Ferguson is in accordance with the Army's manual on civil disturbances - ATP 3-39.33:

Successful outcomes that follow civil disturbance situations are based on proper planning, Soldier and equipment employment, and on-the-ground decisions that are made by leaders and members of the control force who are face-to-face with an unruly, or potentially unruly, crowd. ATP 3-39.33 discusses and describes the techniques that are used by Army forces who are conducting civil deterrence or response missions to civil disturbances.

In the past century, there have been countless examples of civil disturbance situations around the world. The size and scope of these civil disturbances varied from small gatherings of people who were verbally protesting to full-blown riots that resulted in property destruction and violence against others. Over the past decade, law enforcement and professional experts have come to understand crowd dynamics. A better understanding of human behavior and crowd dynamics and technological advancement has led to improved responses to crowd control. .

And what are some of those crowd dynamics?
History has shown that people everywhere demand to be treated fairly and want their grievances to be heard to right their perceived or real wrong. Often, U.S. forces have to respond to this type of situation and must know how their actions or inactions can affect the potential for threats
Imagine that, being treated fairly and wanting your grievances heard.

But how does a group wanting to be heard becomes something else?


The two-crowd theory is based around the belief that at civil disturbance events there are two crowds present, one is civilians that have gathered (protesters, agitators, on-lookers) and the other is the uniformed personnel (control force, law enforcement officials).
According to the two-crowd theory, the outbreak of violence is not due to aspects of the contagion theory, but instead due to the action, reaction, and counteraction of both crowds that are present, known as circular reaction.

According to this theory, the blame for violence must be shared between the gathered crowd and the control force. It states that the actions and reactions of the control force play a significant part in the levels of violence that occur and places the blame on law enforcement. Therefore, leaders and members of the control force must be fully aware of their actions, reactions, and behaviors and how they affect the gathered crowd and its participants’ actions and behaviors.

Emphasis mine.

Let me say something about the officers pointing weapons at civilian crowds - If I did that or allowed my soldiers to do that I would have been relieved on the spot.  You don't point a weapon at anyone unless you intend to fire.  The progression for dangerous interactions is Shout, Show, Shoot - Shout in a commanding voice what you want the subject to do or stop doing. Show that you are armed and have the capacity to inflict lethal force.  Shoot.  No warning shots and no shooting to "wound."  You have to make them understand that you are dead serious and their actions have lethal consequences.  That may sound drastic but it is actually the opposite.  Pointing a weapon at someone is a lethal act.  By doing it when (presumably) they have no plan to use lethal force you desensitize both sides.  The "shooters" get used to using lethal weapons in a non-lethal way.  It becomes one more tool not the last resort.  The "shootees" get used to having weapons pointed at them and no longer respect the lethal consequences represented by the act.   It leas to something that should be the absolute last thing becoming a first option.  For the police they have lost what should be their ultimate last act before using deadly force.  That last chance for the person to decide to be compliant.  The population is so used to having guns pointed at them it no longer modifies their behavior.  I will tell you this, even in Afghanistan I never had to progress past show.  A population that had been in a near constant state of war for over 30 years still respected what they knew was the last straw.  What does that say about the situation in Ferguson?

While not everyone here (and sometimes not me) would agree, the military absolutely demands accountability.  Were this a military operation a LEADER would have been in charge.  A LEADER would have decided when to employ force.  A LEADER would have been responsible for the outcome of that decision (Read "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education" for an example of how LEADERS struggle with these decisions).  When we create new units we use the DOTMLPF standard - Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities.  Ferguson police failed in all but the last.

The police in Ferguson are not militarized.  They may have military toys but that just makes them well equipped.  The lack of leadership, doctrine, training and discipline combined with tensions on both sides made the actions of the last few days a predictable result, not a tragic accident.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Gendarmes here are military police as they (9+ / 0-)

    are attached to the dept of defence and they are the most professional of them all. The CRS [anti riot] are however just a bunch of armed thugs.

    "I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity." Nadezhda Mandelstam

    by LaFeminista on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:51:54 AM PDT

  •  My impression (11+ / 0-)

    is that the military is more professional than most police departments.  It's kind of mixing apples and oranges, and I might be wrong, but it's my impression.

    "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." (Artemus Ward)

    by Silencio on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:00:51 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (37+ / 0-)

    I don't think we've heard--I want to know who were the commanders of that St. Louis County SWAT team who had the snipers training automatic rifles on the crowd.

    I think that amounts to criminal assault.

    Lies written in ink can never disguise facts written in blood.--Lu Xun

    by Timaeus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:01:43 AM PDT

  •  Appearance is everything (22+ / 0-)

    When the police roll up on a situation in military surplus armored vehicles, wearing full military camo and body armor, carrying military grade semi or fully automatic weapons - regardless of their training, they are presenting themselves as a military force, and that's how citizens 'see' them and respond to them.

    The fine line of semantics doesn't make a whole lot of difference, people are just as frightened and just as dead.

    The DKOS oath; The cake is a lie, there is only Pie. Through Pie I gain calories. Through calories I gain fat. Through fat I gain a belly. Through my belly, my belt is broken. Sweatpants shall free me!

    by Fordmandalay on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:02:19 AM PDT

    •  But that is the problem, they dont (23+ / 0-)

      Trust me, if you gave me a company of soldiers we could roll in with the same (or less) equipment and the same (or less armament) and we would get a MUCH different reaction.  Why?  Because we would project discipline and SERIOUSNESS.  These guys are playing soldiers and people can detect that.  The actions of the Ferguson police come from fear.  They KNEW the crowd had no respect for them.  They KNEW they had no authority or credibility with the people.  But give me organized, trained and disciplined soldiers and the crowd would KNOW that we were dead serious and they would KNOW where the line was and to not cross it.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:15:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's exactly right: (9+ / 0-)
        These guys are playing soldiers and people can detect that.
        Note that militarization does NOT mean that the police have in fact become trained soldiers in an army.

        It means that are attempting to mimic the military, and use military weaponry, armor, and vehicles, to intimidate the population.

        As you note, "people can detect" that the police are mimicking the military, with the attempt to intimidate and at times attack them.  

        So this is, in fact militarization of the police.

        "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

        by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:43:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No one crossed a line, except the cops (5+ / 0-)

        and those fuckers WERE dead serious. Anyone here doubt for a second those officers would not have fired upon those people if so ordered?

        I'd don't even get your point, other than feeling insulted.

        Of the almost 1,900 dead Palestinians, the IDF said it killed "900 terrorists" in Gaza. Add that to its long list of lies.

        by pajoly on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:52:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, what he is saying is odd. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ksuwildkat, YucatanMan, snoopydawg

          The police in Ferguson were only JOKING?  

          Really, then what was all the fuss about among the people there, and nationwide, including here at DK?

          We were just upset because the police weren't serious enough?


          "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

          by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:01:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Competent? (7+ / 0-)

            Maybe that is what I was looking for.

            Early in the movie "Die hard" the LA PD brings in their SWAT team.  They are going through the bushes to get to the building and one of the SWAT guys gets a thorn in his hand.  He shakes it and does the "ouchie" thing.  The director put that in there to give the viewers a visual clue that these were amateurs compared to Hans and his gang.  At the same time his guys are shown executing a military style drill flawlessly.  You KNEW exactly how the next interaction was going to take place.  

            When you are disorganized and kinda milling around (what I saw in some of the videos) people dont take you seriously.  Watch a parade.  When the Shriners go by in their little cars everyone is relaxed.  Right behind them is a marching band in a tight formation.  The crowd will stand a bit straighter and stop talking.

            I hear what both you and pajoy are saying.  Excuse the bad choice of words.  

            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

            by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:55:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, thanks for the response, that makes (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sawgrass727, BentLiberal, YucatanMan

              sense to me.

              In a related issue of terminology , as I've made clear in other comments, I absolutely think that police forces are being militarized (weapons, gear, treating populace as a hostile entity), but that they are not a military or army (esp. training, professionalism, discipline, command structure, etc.).

              To me, this really isn't about the US military (except to the degree that's the supply source of weapons, vehicles, etc.).  That is, it isn't about our views about the US armed forces.

              It's about the changes that police forces are undergoing.  

              "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

              by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:05:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Let's try a different word (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mr Bojangles, Tinfoil Hat


              The one I see here is the Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain.

              LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:57:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Misunderstanding Serious (7+ / 0-)

          The Author mean Serious as in serious about their actions AND responsibilities in a given situation.

          The difference between military and para-military is the responsibility part.

          I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

          by Edge PA on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:14:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly... (5+ / 0-)

            The military approach the same situation differently than a bunch of cops playing soldier. Not only is the military more disciplined, but trained to know how to diffuse a situation instead of escalate it.

            The cops playing soldier think that carrying a military style weapon means that people will respect them.
            Military soldiers know that respect doesn't come from the barrel of a gun, but fear does.

            “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” - Anais Nin

            by legendmn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:57:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  see below (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          bad word choice.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:55:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I will guess (or at least I would not be surprised (0+ / 0-)

        to find that if push ever WERE to come to shove and those police suddenly needed to use all that weaponry and equipment in an actual confrontation against someone with the weapons to justify all that - they would turn out to be downright incompetent in its actual use.

    •  poseurs. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayBat, PeterHug, Tinfoil Hat

      Halfass cowboys.

      •  POSEURS You get an A+ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx

        I'll bet some of them even get an erection (at least the males) when they get to fondle the "BIG GUNS", put on their "Heavy Weapons Gear" and "face down them animals".

        It is high time to neuter this meme and start training these public servants, from the chief to the janitor,  how to remember who they are working for.  Take away their toys and military surplus and do gunless practice from now on.

        You have a dollar, and I have a dime, I wonder - could I borrow yours as easy as you could mine?

        by olegar on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:29:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  In regards to their training (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don’t think, however, that the military mentality and equipment associated with SWAT operations are confined to those elite units. Increasingly, they’re permeating all forms of policing.
      As Karl Bickel, a senior policy analyst with the Justice Department’s Community Policing Services office, observes, police across America are being trained in a way that emphasizes force and aggression. He notes that recruit training favors a stress-based regimen that’s modeled on military boot camp rather than on the more relaxed academic setting a minority of police departments still employ. The result, he suggests, is young officers who believe policing is about kicking ass rather than working with the community to make neighborhoods safer. Or as comedian Bill Maher reminded officers recently: “The words on your car, ‘protect and serve,’ refer to us, not you.”
      I read that many cops now ate training at a military base.

      "I find it incredible that Keith Alexander can sell secrets and is free to make a huge profit without being slammed with Espionage Act charges and Snowden is stateless" Jesselyn Radack.

      by snoopydawg on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:38:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You make some very good points. But one thing... (31+ / 0-)

    ...I think is clear, there was a leader was in charge in Ferguson. An individual cop or a collection of a few might violate department policy. But an entire array of them do not set themselves up on rooftops, show up in riot gear with machine-guns and armored vehicles and fire tear-gas or rubber bullets into crowds without getting the go-ahead from on high.

    The leader was a bad one, to be sure. But these cops did not act on their own.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:09:50 AM PDT

    •  I disagree (23+ / 0-)

      These things spread in the absence of leadership.  One guy gets nervous and points his weapon.  Someone sees that and follows.  someone else gets nervous and fires off a grenade.  All hell breaks lose.  

      Here is what happens with a leader.  

      Arrive on site.  Deploy in a long mass, shoulder to shoulder.  Create an image of a wall.  Here is the line.  No guns, no club, no vehicles, just a wall of people.

      From the middle of the wall the LEADER walks out to meet the crowd.  Tell them what is acceptable and what is not.  Tell them what is expected and what they can expect.  Return and stand in the front of the wall.  Be calm, project calm.  

      If the crowd becomes unacceptable bring up the vehicles - or better horses - and place them directly behind the wall.  You have sent a message - this wall is what you THOUGHT I had but I have more.  Now you see more and now you wonder what else I have.  Walk out again and tell them their actions are getting closer to unacceptable.  Tell their leaders to get control.  The message - I have control of my people, you need to do the same.  

      If the unacceptable behavior continues bring out the riot shields and riot helmets for the wall.  Message - you will not win, we will not back down and now you see I have more men and equipment than you thought.  My more keeps coming.  You have drawn a line and now they will either comply or cross the line.  At the same time bring your ambulances to where the crowd can see them.  Message - I dont want violence but I am prepared for it.  But I am also prepared for compassion.  Your choice.

      If they cross the line individually you take no action other than isolating the individual.  The Wall remains calm and holds.  Individuals are removed.  If they cross the line in mass you respond in mass.  Think of the scene in "The 300" where they absorb the initial attack with their shields and then respond ON ORDER as a group.  HOLD, HOLD, HOLD, STRIKE!  Shock effect.  You probably only have to do it once and the crowd will disperse.  Step forward putting those hurt behind the wall and remove them to care.  

      That is what Leadership, discipline, doctrine and training look like.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:31:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with what you say about what... (29+ / 0-)

        ...GOOD leadership and GOOD policy consist of. We didn't see either of those on display in Ferguson. But I don't think that the cops just showed up and started acting on their own. One of them went onto a rooftop with a rifle on a bipod and with scope on his own initiative and others followed suit? As a journalist I covered cops in Denver for three years and Los Angeles for two. I've been arrested more than 60 times in various protests. And I don't believe most of what happened on the streets of Ferguson after the shooting of Brown happened without orders.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:46:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're both right. (11+ / 0-)

          Lies written in ink can never disguise facts written in blood.--Lu Xun

          by Timaeus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:54:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think we are in violent agreement (16+ / 0-)

          but I think my line for when "bad" leadership becomes no leadership is less forgiving than yours.

          What I saw in the videos from Ferguson mirrors what I have seen when you give soldiers toys without training.  I have seen it in American soldiers, Iraqis, Afghans, Saudis, Koreans so I dont think it is cultural.  Boys (Ill stereotype) play cops and robbers all over the world.  Give them toys without training and they revert to what they know - cops and robbers.  You could almost see these guys reaching into their memory banks for TV and movie guidance for what to do.

          If you don't have doctrine, you have nothing to train
          If you dont train, you wont be disciplined
          If you are not disciplined you cannot lead or be lead

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:00:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Anyone remember Lord of the Flies? (0+ / 0-)

            What if Piggy's gang found a cache of M16s and grenade launchers (yes, I know M16s weren't invented at that time, get the point)? Undisciplined chaos.

            "We are how we treat each other and nothing more."

            by Mr Bojangles on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 12:12:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  One thing unclear to me: Who were the cops? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ksuwildkat, SadieSue, Tinfoil Hat

          All news articles simply referred to them as "police."  Many dkos posts referred to them as "Ferguson police" and I think they were incorrect.  I sometimes read that the St. Louis County police constituted the majority of reinforcement, but pictures of the police lined up showed different uniforms.

          St. Louis County is an amalgamation of many different municipalities and many have their own police forces.   I expect that reinforcements were drawn from a few departments at least.  

          And who in the heck was in charge?  The Ferguson police chief gave the most press statements but the St. Louis County chief had some role too.  Who was doing what?  I tried to get a sense of the control command but the whole situation seemed chaotic.  

          My hunch is that the police forces in the area never planned in advance for a coordinated action like this, and they were making it up as they went, and some units felt more empowered than they had the right to be.

          •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrY10cK, Tinfoil Hat

            Compare the response in Ferguson with the military principles of war:

                Objective – Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective.  What were the Ferguson "police" trying to achieve.  I doubt they knew.

                Offensive – Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.  They were completely reactionary and reacted to the GROUP based on actions of individuals.

                Mass – Mass the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time.  Listen to how they responded.  No mass.  Individuals making individual choices.

                Economy of Force – Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible.  Everything operated in a piecemeal fashion.

                Maneuver – Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.  None.  No attempt to use movement to contain the demonstrations and limit growth.

                Unity of CommandFor every objective, seek unity of command and unity of effort.  Absolute failure.

                Security – Never permit the enemy to acquire unexpected advantage.  Another failure but a failure in belief, not fact.  They acted out of fear.

                Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.  Only one not applicable.  You want to project your actions so you dont have to take them.

                Simplicity – Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.  This was a simple demonstration and you brought snipers?

            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

            by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:31:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What conceit (0+ / 0-)

              You are all boys with toys, as far as I've ever been able to tell. There are a hell of a lot of good soldiers and hell of a lot of bad ones. In the chaos of battle, atrocity prevails, and inevitably, everybody loses.
              Actually believing that emotional beings can ever comprise a trained, professional deadly force is where our society has gone wrong, and this has been shown to be true in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the hundreds of others places our misadventures take us, as fully as it has been in Ferguson.

              and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

              by le sequoit on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:25:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  A Feudal example? So the people of Ferguson are (0+ / 0-)

        serfs?  A population to be controlled?

        There is a leader.  There is ALWAYS a leader.

        He may lead from behind instead of in front, but mark my words, there is one.

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        —Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:16:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have no idea what you are trying to argue (6+ / 0-)

        That their tactics sucked because were not legit military?

        You write like the people played a role here, as if THEY were in ANY part responsible for the assault upon them.

        Can we focus instead on how it's total crap that these weapons are there at all re local cops?

        Of the almost 1,900 dead Palestinians, the IDF said it killed "900 terrorists" in Gaza. Add that to its long list of lies.

        by pajoly on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:55:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He is saying (4+ / 0-)

          their tactics sucked because they were poorly lead.  While there are definately exceptions, the US Military is not poorly lead.  Individual police departments are.

          Note - Read the accounts of what happened when the MO State troopers took over crowd control.  Sounds an awful lot like what the author is suggesting.

          Better leadership - Better tactics - Better results

          Even during a week of occupation.

          I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

          by Edge PA on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:19:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are rotten command and rotten non-coms (4+ / 0-)

            in the military as well.

            There are all kinds of stories out of our recent wars about rotten leadership from generals to sergeants. How was Tillman killed? What about the conditions in Bergdahl's unit?  

            What about torture groups in black prisons and soldiers aping the hooded prisoners or treating them like dogs?  That was good behavior and appropriate leadership?  Good god. What a joke.

            It is a myth that all leadership in the military is competent, conscientious, or moral.

            Here's a great leader right here, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales:

            A U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 Afghan civilians in cold blood last year pleaded guilty on Wednesday to premeditated murder and other charges under a deal with military prosecutors that spares him from the death penalty.

            Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, admitted to leaving his Army post in the Afghan province of Kandahar last March to gun down and set fire to unarmed villagers, mostly women and children, in attacks on their family compounds.

            That's why I disagree with the conclusion of this diary.  There are competent leaders in some polices forces and there are some in the military.

            But the presence of some competent leaders somewhere, does not lead to the conclusion that all leadership and all training is effective, competent or anything else.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:26:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Said it better than I could, and one bad apple ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calvino Partigiani, le sequoit

              Said it better than I could, and one bad apple does spoil the whole barrel. A little too much uniform worship for my taste, but my generation saw the Kent state incident and I thoroughly expect a repeat, just as likely from the military as the police. Once the oppressors cross that line, the oppressed lose any respect and the killing starts.

          •  EDGE PA: yes -- and no. (0+ / 0-)

            Badly led (if intentionally led at all -- it looked awful damn ad hoc to me) and suckily trained -- as in, so suckily trained they couldn't identify, articulate and pursue their mission.

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:06:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You're missing a very important point... (6+ / 0-)

          Go back and read the quoted excerpt about the two-crowd theory.

          One crowd was the same in every case - an angry and potentially violent group of people in public protest. (You don't know ahead of time if any of them will become violent, so you have to consider the potential, right?)

          Now, compare the actions of the Ferguson PD "crowd" and the "crowd" led by CPT Johnson. As Wesley Lowery reported in the Washington Post:

          Not only did Johnson march with the protesters, but he vowed to not blockade the street, to set up a media staging center, and to ensure that residents’ rights to assemble and protest were not infringed upon. Officers working crowd control, he said, have been told they must take off their gas masks. [...] And the difference from protests at similar times in the evening on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was massive. By this time on Wednesday, police had detained protesters, by this point on Monday officers had begun deploying tear-gas canisters at residents who would not disperse. [...]

          Protesters said they were still angry, demanding justice for Brown and answers from local police about why he was shot and who the offending officer was.

          But, they said, Johnson’s willingness to physically interact with them, rid the streets of heavy police equipment, and help them coordinate protests was a welcome change in tone. [...]

          Moments later, as he rallied the crowd and demanded justice and information about the shooting, the man with the megaphone declared:

          “They respect us,” referring to police. “ So let’s respect them. They’ve given us the sidewalk so lets stay out of their street.”

          This was a textbook example of the two-crowd theory in action. There is always something of a feedback loop between protestors and security/LE folks; the difference is that the Ferguson PD's actions fed that loop in a negative way, while Johnson's fed it in a positive direction.

          The diarist's analysis is spot-on.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:41:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Even the first step was wrong (10+ / 0-)

        When the police show up in body armor, military weapons, and up-armored vehicles, that is a declaration of war. There will always be some percentage of that crowd who will say, "If it's war you want, it's war you'll get." As the situation escalates that percentage will grow.

        The goal is deescalation not escalation.


        I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

        by Just Bob on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:11:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  One other point I would make - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "unacceptable behavior" is situationally dependent.  Within the United States, protestors have Constitutional Rights that MUST be respected by the police.

        The leader in your scenario has an absolute obligation to respect that; the individual policemen (and women) have an absolute obligation to refuse orders that would violate this.

        I suppose the analogue in a crowd control situation outside this country by the military would be the applicable ROE.

        Unfortunately, either the training, the culture, or the casual expectation on the part of the police that they won't be held accountable for violations seems to have suspended the Constitution in many (most?) protests in multiple venues across the United States.  This needs to change.

      •  question: what do you do when faced with... (0+ / 0-)

        ... groups that could variously be characterized as "leaderless resistance," "amorphous," "mob," etc.?

        This is common in protest situations:  Either a) a group is leaderless by principle, such as with anarchists, or b) a group assembles spontaneously and has no organizational structure, or c) a group uses similar rhetoric but with deliberately cynical intent to foment a riot situation.  

        BTW re. language:  

        I came to a similar conclusion as you did, and for similar reasons, re. the conventional use of the word "militarist" as an antonym to "pacifist."

        To my mind the proper antonym to "pacifist" would be something that refers to a willingness to initiate aggression against other countries such as to take territory.  The proper antonym to "militarist" would refer to actions such as unilateral disarmament that project weakness and increase the probability of being attacked.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:56:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ksuwildcat: proper MP response, right down to (0+ / 0-)

        the ambulances ready and recovering the wounded from both sides.

        It's not what you get with the average PD/SO today though.
        This is not a good thing IMO. We should be more about the notion of honor, more about the concept of fairness, more about the ideal of community.

        Instead, we get the response we see from the Cliven Bundys out of uniform (Bundy Militia) and in (Ferguson PD/ ST Louis County SO).

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:04:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Point of fact (0+ / 0-)

        The guy who got nervous and pointed his weapon is now the leader. If others followed they were following someone. Maybe someone they shouldn't have been following, but still...

        If the troops can start following a twitchy guy who doesn't have authority, it is still a breakdown of leadership and vacuums will be filled.

        "We are how we treat each other and nothing more."

        by Mr Bojangles on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 12:08:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not really... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat, PeterHug

      Media reports that four different persons were "in charge" over the last few days before Nixon finally brought the State Police in to take charge.

      There might have been someone in command at all times, but I see little evidence of a leader's presence.

      That's another failure to be discussed. You can't rotate command on a daily basis; there needs to be a single command authority.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:25:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are plenty of better terms to describe them: (5+ / 0-)

    Robocops, wannabe soldiers, petty authoritarians, McSoldiers, and so on; let your imaginations run wild.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:16:39 AM PDT

  •  You make some good points but what else (6+ / 0-)

    aptly describes them if they are using surplus military equipment on the civilian population? Do we call them Super Police?

    Hey Kos! Yes it is dumb to say the parties are exactly the same on every issue - but it is dangerous and willfully ignorant to not acknowledge when their rhetoric is different but the ECONOMIC outcomes are the same.

    by Tool on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:19:20 AM PDT

  •  Too bad the military didn't (15+ / 0-)

    pass along their protocols and discipline when they passed along the equipment.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:23:46 AM PDT

  •  I appreciate the sentiment. (7+ / 0-)

    I've been guilty of referring to them as soldiers not police and I get your point. Completely. Thank you for your service.

    As many others have said, we then do need a new moniker for this kind of police behavior.

    I vote for Tyrants.

  •  Oh please (12+ / 0-)

    Nothing against you personally; I'm sure that you served with honor. But I don't think anyone paying attention to Bush's wars could possibly say that the military is more professional, and treats civilians better, than the police. Torture. Coverups of civilian deaths. Dehumanization. Massacres. There hasn't been on iota of accountability for torture in Iraq and Afghanistan (and yes, a lot of that was the CIA, but the involvement of the branches of the military is undeniable) beyond a few low level soldiers thrown to the wolves mostly for Abu Ghraib -- as if their commanding officers somehow didn't know what was going on until the pictures went public.

    It's not all soldiers doing these bad things, of course, but it's not all cops either. But both kinds of institutions suffer from systemic problems and a lack of accountability. You can point me to some cases of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan going to jail for crimes committed against the civilian populations there, but there has never been broader accountability for the fact that these wars were crimes in the first place. And there never will be.

    I'd keep my big fat mouth shut but I really don't think that the incompetence and violence of several police agencies in Missouri should suddenly be spun to make the military, as an institution (not as individual soldiers, most of whom no doubt do follow the rules and treat their fellow humans with respect) as suddenly a paragon of accountability and institutional responsibility.

    "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

    by Lost Left Coaster on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:30:43 AM PDT

    •  Just because you didnt read about it (22+ / 0-)

      didnt mean it didnt happen.  

      I know General Taguba personally and I know that his report on Abu Ghraib was both accurate and complete.  I also knew the Commander of that unit and I can tell you she knew some but not everything because she was scared to leave the Palace.  And she was punished.  Now should the punishment gone higher for the lax attitude to mistreatment?  I would say yes.

      You will get no argument about torture from me.  Forget that it is morally wrong, its not effective.  They will say what ever is needed to get the bad man to stop.  But despite the administration and John Woo saying it was ok, the Army specifically forbid soldiers from participating in "enhanced" interrogations and was very specific that anyone participating in or authorizing them would be punished.  And they were punished.

      Coverup of civilian deaths?  EVERY civilian death was investigated if possible.  By "if possible" I mean ones we could specifically identify as in any way questionable.  When you are firing artillery into a city, bad things happen.  Civilians are killed in warfare.  Always have, always will be.  Its regrettable but a fact of war.

      Dehumanization is also a fact of war.  Believe it or not it is darn hard to get people to kill their fellow humans.  It has a horrible effect on you when you do.  We use dehumanization to get the mission done and to maintain our own humanity.  I am not killing a father, husband, son, brother, cousin or uncle.  I am killing a Jap, Slope, Zipperhead, Kraut, Nazi, VC, Communist, Ruskie, Camel Jockey, Raghead, etc.  It is necessary to conduct war.  Now if you want to say its better to not conduct war, I am with you 100%.

      I recently took a course in Just War theory, one of many I have taken.  At the start of the class we were asked to do a quick survey on political leanings.  We were a pretty center group with just a small center right lean.  Not surprising since the course was an elective so it was a self selected population.  Then we were asked if we thought the Iraq War was a just war.  20 of 22 said no.  The two who did said it was just because of Saddam being horrible to his people.  22 of 22 said the war was misrepresented to the people and that added to its injustice.  If you want to discuss Just War theory I am glad to.  If you want to discuss accountability for starting an unjust war, Im all for that too.  But please, dont project the failings of the duly elected competent and constitutional authority on the military.  We do not choose our wars, you do.  You the people.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:53:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On just Monday, four days ago, (5+ / 0-)

        Amnesty International released a long detailed report, on the failure of international forces in Afghanistan to investigate civilian deaths.

        Coverup of civilian deaths?  EVERY civilian death was investigated if possible.
        US forces have comprised the large majority of international forces in Afghanistan, and have been implicated in the large majority of incidents involving civilian casualties. Therefore, this report focuses, in particular, on the performance of the US government in investigating possible war crimes and in prosecuting those suspected of criminal responsibility for such crimes. Its overall finding is that the record is poor.

        Left in the Dark: Failures of Accountability for Civilian Casualties Caused by International Military Operations in Afghanistan, Amnesty International

        •  Afghanistan is a mess (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Garrett, buddabelly, Just Bob, PeterHug

          I will admit, I was thinking of Iraq when I wrote it.  Iraq was a much easier problem.  For the majority of the time we were there the fighting was done by Americans under a defacto American government.  As such we bore sole responsibility for the vast majority of deaths.

          Afghanistan is the exact opposite.  US, Coalition and Afghan forces operate in nearly every area of the country.  In the case of Afghan forces there are at least 4 distinct fighting forces - Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan Local Police (ALP) and the National Defense Service (NDS).  Add to this a minimum of 3 border forces, local unsanctioned but friendly to the government militia and a population generally armed to the tooth (just one - I kid...almost) you have a recipe for disaster.  On the other side are a minimum of three distinct fighting forces - Taliban, Haqqani network and the population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas that span both Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Add to that local warlords unfriendly to the Government and locals unfriendly to anyone not from their personal tribe/group.  Of all those, only the US and Coalition can be counted on to operate in uniform as an organized force and in accordance with the Law of Land Warfare.

          Fighting an unconventional force is always difficult.  Afghanistan is made more difficult because of both sides making a habit of fighting in civilian clothing instead of uniforms.  How do you know if someone is Taliban or villager?  What if they are both?  Do you wait for them to put down the wood and pick up a gun?  How do you know if the goat header with an AK is fighting you or wolves?  Now into that mix make the "enemy" answer the same question.  Is that a villager or an ANP?  Is that a local militia opposed to me or is that a meeting of the village elders?

          The first case in the AI report, while tragic is understandable.  The area where it happened is a transit spot for movement of weapons from Pakistan to the Kabul area.  From 10,000 feet a bundle of sticks looks like RPGs.  The question you have to ask is whether you believe someone intentionally dropped a bomb on girls collecting fire wood or if it was a tragic mistake that is very common in a theater of war.  

          As for the lack of interviews issue - it is a problem.  First, we are often not allowed to conduct interviews.  The Afghan govern can and does veto these things.  The motivations are varied but in some cases Afghan sources provided faulty intelligence that lead to killings.  IN some cases it seemed like the government WANTED to create animosity between coalition forces and the local population.  At other times no interviews could take place because the area was not secure.  And I am sure other times we just did a bad job investigating.  But we do investigate and we do hold people responsible - something even AI admits.

          As for Night Raids - big issue and one central to the hold up of the SOFA.  I will say this - Night Raids were the preferred method to eliminate political rivals.  Find a way to tie them to group __ and you could count on the SF guys to eliminate them.  BOTH SIDES did this.  Both the Taliban and HQN have leaked information that resulted in their rivals being killed/captured and Kharzi is knee deep in this.  I believe Night Raids should be ended because they are completely corrupted.

          Finally even AI notes that the Taliban, HQN and associated fighters are responsibility for the vast majority of civilian deaths.  And while the US military has probably screwed up or failed to investigate somethings, the Taliban and HQN take pride in killing civilians.  

          We do the best we can.  Do we need to get better?  Of course.  But war is not pretty.  War sucks.  It is supposed to suck.  It is supposed to suck so much you choose something else.  As long as there has been war there have been civilians killed in war.  It will never change.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:30:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here is a November 2013 letter (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ksuwildkat, YucatanMan, FrY10cK

            from UN Special Rapporteurs, to the U.S., on failure to effectively investigate the 2012/2013 torture and killings in Wardak province, which is the sixth case study in the Amnesty International report.

            In this connection, we would like to bring to your Government’s attention information we have received concerning the incidents that allegedly occurred in the district of Nerkh in the province of Wardak, Afghanistan in late 2012 and early 2013, in which at least nineteen persons were killed as a consequence of alleged abuses committed by the United States Army, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces group, known as Operation Detachment Alpha (ODA) 3124, in the district.

            [their emphasis]

            It is alleged that the US military opened a criminal investigation in July 2013 and that numerous key witnesses to the alleged crimes have not yet been questioned by US investigators. The Afghan intelligence service has reportedly ceased its investigation after having been refused access to members of the US military and their translators by the US.
            Concern is expressed at the unlawful killing of at least 19 individuals in the district of Nerkh in the province of Wardak, Afghanistan in late 2012 and early 2013, as well as at the reported lack of progress in the investigations on these cases launched by the US and Afghan authorities.
            And Amnesty International, about the failure to effectively investigate:
            The Afghan investigation into the crimes has reportedly been hobbled by the failure of the US military to grant investigators access to interview members of the Special Forces team. They reportedly requested to speak to three Special Forces operatives and four Afghan translators who worked with them, but the request was denied.102

            Under pressure from the UN and others, the US military finally opened its own criminal investigation into the killings in July.103 Yet it is far from clear whether the investigation is serious. Numerous witnesses and family members said that, as of November 2013, they had not been interviewed.104 Nor had the military interviewed journalist Matthieu Aikins, who spend five months gathering evidence about the killings for his Rolling Stone article. As of March 2014, only two of the ten eyewitnesses and former detainees whom Amnesty International spoke to had been interviewed by US military investigators.

            The allegations here, about the conduct of ODA 3124 in Wardak, are extremely grave.
            •  no argument (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              no argument from me.  I wish we could share a beer and I would let you know what I think of most ODA types.  ANd dont get me going on SEALs.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:17:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Example (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buddabelly, dougymi, PeterHug

          Where I operated outside of Kabul there was a large "compound" - a collection of 4 or 5 buildings that constituted an Afghan farm.  The "farmer" was a hard core Taliban type.  We gave each other a wide berth.  What ever he was doing, he was not doing it in my area.  He never attacked my soldiers.  He never put out IEDs in my area.  In return we left him alone.  We made sure his sheep were unharmed.  We sent word when we were going to be in the area with a large group - a group that might not be as "live and let live" as I was.  He was always gone before my large group arrived.

          I was not being kind or liberal or enlightened.  I was practical.  I had a team of 5 military guys and 5 civilians. Most of the time we worked in groups of two.  M4 rifles and M9 pistols.  We were in no position to pick a fight.  I could have gotten backup and taken down his house, killed or arrested everyone there and destroyed his farm.  For what?  Someone else would have moved in.  Maybe that someone was his brother.  His brother would have a blood feud against me.  Eventually me or my guys would be isolated and killed.  When not if.  Eye for an eye that never ends.

          Destroying his farm was not my mission and I choose not to make it my mission.  Keeping my guys alive while doing our actual mission was my job and I did that.

          I have no idea if those who followed me did the same math.  But had they decided to remove him they would have been entirely justified.  He was a Taliban supporter/fighter.  He was doing bad things else ware in the country.  But what would the optics have been?  "US attacks farm, children killed."  It would have been true.  But it also would have been true that he was a bad man and his choices brought death to his door.  Where you fall on that is up to you but realize that both sides are right.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:46:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  How can you say the report was complete (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calvino Partigiani, YucatanMan

        when Taguba didn't include his own boss's role?

    •  The military is on the whole more (4+ / 0-)

      professional and more disciplined than your average police force.

      The question as to what the military does with its power is distinct from the question as to its institutional professionalism.

      "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

      by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:48:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not True In the Context of On-the-Ground In-the- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pajoly, YucatanMan

    moment. Well more appropriately, it doesn't really matter.

    I've faced locked and loaded National Guard and police and highway patrol in protest and large riot situations so I say this from personal heat-of-the-moment experience.

    Your distinctions are of course accurate and appropriate in the context of many kinds of policy making and analysis of events, especially after the fact.

    However, in terms of the risks that civilians and protesters face in the moment, your distinctions are academic. The fact is that these days civilians regularly face law enforcement officers equipped well enough to have decimated the infamous Kent State Ohio National Guard unit from 1970.

    Civilians need to appreciate that there is a historically military caliber of arms and training coming at them. If the forces are incompletely prepared or executing incorrectly that's worse than no consolation.

    And the approximation is also "close enough" for purposes of civic discussion of exactly how militarized the police need to be, and when the deployment of that kind of force and training is and isn't appropriate.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:25:44 AM PDT

  •  So they have the weapons and vehicles (5+ / 0-)

    but not the training.
    There is a school of thought that the militarization of police forces is an intentional blurring. That Posse Comitatus bans the use of the Army on American streets, so militarize the police forces, hook them up with Fusion centers and use our domestic police AS the army.
    And as the local PDs hire more and more vets, they have people that are already trained, it only takes a bit more training to bring the whole (or the majority of) force into compliance.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:45:38 AM PDT

    •  I keep hearing "ex-military cops"... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat, Calvino Partigiani

      ...but I don't see ANY hard numbers.

      Does anyone have data on recent hiring of Iraq/Afgahanistan veterans by law enforcement agencies?

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:47:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I couldn't find hard numbers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calvino Partigiani

        but a quick google showed a lot of PDs actively recruiting vets and several articles in police and veteran magazines talking it up.
        That doesn't really give a sense of the scale.
        I know, my town has half a dozen cops and at least two of them are Iraq/Afghanistan vets.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:30:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In smaller towns, I could see it... (0+ / 0-)

 something of a "hometown cop" thing, where the person in question was well-known before their service.  I haven't seen much on this topic where larger/urban police departments are concerned.

          There's also the obvious transition of MPs/SPs to civilian law enforcement duty, which differs significantly from "Joe Veteran" landing a job as a cop.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:26:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Arguably Posse Comitatus is moot now. (0+ / 0-)

      What we're seeing sure walks and talks and looks like an army, and certainly has all the gear and firepower.  If it was not intentional, well, they got lucky, didn't they.

      Bullies do that cause it's all they got.

      by rschndr on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:56:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may look like an army, but (0+ / 0-)

        it doesn't behave like one.  And I would be amazed if it could fight like one, even in a single engagement.

        Beyond that it would be a complete catastrophe, in that it has no logistics or back end whatsoever - it's just a shell.

        Police departments armed like this are incredibly dangerous to protestors they confront.  But they are not in any way an army as such.

  •  They are paramilitary not military. (3+ / 0-)

    Or you could just call them war-lords

    This space for rent -- Cheap!

    by jds1978 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:13:47 AM PDT

  •  So we need to find the Klansman in charge of the (0+ / 0-)

    scene on Wednesday night?

    The one that (1) shouted out (in his head) hours beforehand -- even before clearing out the McDonalds illegally -- and then (2) showed his weapon to himself in the privacy of his own stall... The one that (3) desired to shoot and did shoot at unarmed people who were legally protesting his actions and the actions of his peers?

    That guy?  Not to mention all of his compatriots.

    You say we need a better word than "militarized" -- they're using Military Weapons.  They're not using any recognizable rules of engagement, certainly not anything that is legal.  "Armed Mob" doesn't seem to be adequate because they're supposed to be working for us.

    That pretty much leaves "Petty Despot's Feudal Bullies" and the rest of us in the role of the serfs.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:15:08 AM PDT

  •  The police force in Fergson, MO, and nation-wide (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pajoly, Tony Situ, YucatanMan, sneakers563

    have been militarized.

    It's plain for all to see.

    Of course they are not "military" in the sense that they do not operate just like the US Armed Forces.

    But militarization does not mean that the police behave and are organized just like the army.

    Militarization basically means that the police have come to increasingly use heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, protective gear, and to treat the civilian population as a hostile entity, not as fellow citizens to be "served and protected".

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:37:42 AM PDT

    •  I agree, though I think some are going overboard (2+ / 0-)

      in the other direction, such the calls to ban police from any and all access to "military gear".  There are criminal matters in which "military gear" (which I've seen defined in diaries as assault rifles, armored cars, helicopters, night-time goggles, Kevlar, etc) are required.  And in such criminal situations, if the police don't have access to that gear, then that means the military itself would have to handle those particular criminal matters, since they're the only ones with access to the required gear.  And we don't want the military to deal with criminal matters in the civilian world (MPs do deal with criminal matters within the military itself).

      Rather than ban all police access to such gear, police must act judiciously in using such gear.  Using armored vehicles to control/suppress demonstrators is beyond stupid.  Same for using semi or fully automatic weapons and sniper rifles (even as just a threat).  And the totally idiotic thing is to wear camo.  I mean, WTF?

      I would allow police to have access to certain "military gear", but such gear must only be used when necessary.
      And police should never wear camo.

  •  I'm a vet and will CONTINUE to call it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani, AoT, YucatanMan

    "military." They are military grade weapons. Military grade tactics. And, if the REAL military is not comfortable, then it has the power to apply pressure to state and U.S. Reps and Senators to change the laws.

    Please be part of the solution instead of complaining this insults you.

    Of the almost 1,900 dead Palestinians, the IDF said it killed "900 terrorists" in Gaza. Add that to its long list of lies.

    by pajoly on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:47:34 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. Thanks for writing it. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Speak softly and carry a big can of tuna.

    by Cat Whisperer on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:47:45 AM PDT

  •  I love the diary, but (5+ / 0-)

    that's not what militarized means.


    equip or supply (a place) with soldiers and other military resources.
    We're using the word in this sense.  It refers to the flow of weapons and vehicles from our military to our civilian police forces and is not meant to compare the valor and bravery exhibited by our military troops to the unregulated cowardice and murderous intent presently being shown by many police forces around the country.

    The word is not meant as a slam at our military forces.  It simply has the word 'military' as it's root.

  •  My father is a retired Marine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You sound like him.

    Listening to him talk about this ... you hear nothing but contempt.

    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

    by Edge PA on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:08:16 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps we should call them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, FrY10cK

    paramilitary? or mercenary military?

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:43:59 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary and a question (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for hanging around and engaging in conversation.

    What do you think about the way they cleared out that McDonald's where the journalists were arrested? It had been a peaceful gathering place for days before the police arrived.  The police didn't seem to have a purpose of being there other than harassment and a show of power and control.  

    I've not been in the military but my sense is that the military does something similar when it moves into a civilian area: Be very assertive to let everyone know who is in charge, and to give people pause before they consider reacting in a defensive or offensive manner.  

    Which is fine in combat or in a police force where you need to establish control in a dangerous and potentially hostile situation.   But it did not seem appropriate in that McDonalds.

    •  Stupid and unnecessary (3+ / 0-)

      Your best friend is a hostile situation is someone going about everyday life.  You CRAVE people acting normal.  It calms things.  The demonstration effect of people going about their normal lives is powerful.  The demonstrators will seek to keep those people safe and they will respect that you do the same.  

      Had I been there I would have gone in to the McDonalds and ordered a happy meal, sat down and eaten it.  ALONE.  I would have made clear than anyone doing the same would be unmolested while also making clear that any violence against people just doing their job flipping burgers and making fries would not be tolerated.  

      Given the opportunity I would try to share a meal with the leaders of the demonstration.  Its hard to hate a man you break bread with.  Eating is the second most intimate thing we do as humans and the most intimate thing we (well most of us) do as a group.  I never passed on an opportunity to eat with Afghans.  I trained people how to eat with Saudis.  Give me enough food and I can calm any situation.  That the Last Supper is central to Christian beliefs and Christian religious ceremonies is not an accident.  Oh and shared meals happen to be at the center of Iftar (Islam), Passover (Judaism), May Day (lots of people), weddings, funerals, birthdays, and just about every other celebration of good things.  Not an accident, not a coincidence.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:50:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Part of the problem could be that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, FrY10cK, Prognosticator

    our cops are getting training from the real experts in domestic repression:

    In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.
  •  Well put - tipped and rec'd. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tinfoil Hat

    Few people understand just how thorough civil disturbance training is for the US military.

    Interested persons should take a look at the training publication linked in the diary; I'm willing to bet that it's far more detailed and comprehensive than is the training received by the typical police department.

    Again, kudos.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 01:56:54 PM PDT

  •  Your argument (2+ / 0-)

    seems to be with semantics, as much as with substance.

    People are not saying this is a military police force, which is what your diary says you are hearing.  This is a militarized police force, meaning a police force (which is a very different thing than a real police force, whose mission is "to protect and serve") using military hardware and a military mission (to conquer and subdue).  While you might argue with the latter definition, I would suggest reading history.  For millennia, that has been the purpose of the military,and those are just the tactics that have been used in Missouri.

    I would also complain, were the events in Missouri reflecting on my chosen career, but only if they actually were.  These dweebs are not military - the are lame wannabes, beneath the contempt of all good citizens and soldiers.  Don't take their mistakes personally,except as a human being.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:30:51 PM PDT

  •  I happen to agree with Bill Moyers: (2+ / 0-)

    They are Militarized Police.

    You make a great deal of how these police would have had LEADERS if they were actual military.

    Well, you know what? They did have leaders. Just rotten-to-the-core leaders. And some of the police were rotten-to-the-core too, with their Confederate flags in their living rooms and racist attitudes and bully personalities.  

    But that doesn't mean that ALL military leaders are professional and reliable. There have been some real jack-asses in the military at every single level. A good number of them too.

    I'm not going to start listing the atrocities committed by the US military just in the last couple of wars, but good grief.  And by "leaders" and ordinary soldiers, either way.

    I understand pride in your job, but I just do not agree that the military is going to behave better 100% of the time.

    And police departments equipped with and using military equipment ARE "militarized," by definition.

    That's what they are. Semantics doesn't matter.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:37:25 PM PDT

  •  Where is the accountability for torture? (0+ / 0-)

    Or were no military personnel engaged in crimes against humanity?

    Yes, the US military is one of the most disciplined and professional fighting forces the world has seen. Yes, accountability is held in high regard.

    But absolutely? Absolute means total, without exception. So where is the accountability for torture?

  •  There is no doubt LE has been "miliarized" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the sense that it has become a target market for military gear, which has also happened to non-LE gun purchasers.

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:41:38 PM PDT

  •  Let's call Ferguson's cops what they are: rioters. (0+ / 0-)

    What we saw was the worst police riot in a generation.

    Great diary, BTW.

    •  It seems this has been sno-balling for some time (0+ / 0-)

      An incorporated city of 20000+ population,  has a police force of 53 commissioned officers. The racial makeup of the city has morphed into a majority of 70% +- ofnon whites and  30% +- white or other.  How many of their police officers are of color?  Only 3!  Is there a bias?  Must be - - Here the demographics. . .

      You have a dollar, and I have a dime, I wonder - could I borrow yours as easy as you could mine?

      by olegar on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:37:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  plus the city's dependent on fines for its income (0+ / 0-)

        or at least a substantial fraction thereof.

        It's damn near the cops as RICO.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:22:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The big difference is training (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani, BlackSheep1

    Soldiers are given a completely different type of training than police are. The stuff I saw the police doing the other night went against all the training I ever received on the proper way to hold my gun, particularly in situations that are not deadly yet.

    Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:33:31 PM PDT

  •  The military is responsible for a lot of horror... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    olegar, JesseCW, Calvino Partigiani

    ...that would make the police blush, though. I don't think we can make one the saint to show the other as the sinner. The connection is between shared tactics, re-purposed equipment, and the view of targets.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:37:12 PM PDT

  •  They are Potemkin military. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    They want to appear as military, and that appearance furthers the perception that the Posse Comitatus Act is being violated. They are an insult in a so-called free society.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:44:26 PM PDT

  •  As Test Vet [ RIP ] would say, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    SALUTE ! ! !

    The time has come to repair this country and care for its' veterans.

    by llbear on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:48:11 PM PDT

  •  Maybe the government shouldn't arm thugs. (0+ / 0-)

    I appreciate your argument and your thoughtful diary. I'm not convinced that it always works that way in the fog of war however:  Lets assume you are correct.  Then the federal government should not be handing out military weapons to untrained leaderless thugs.  

    My father was a hunter and taught me how to shoot a .22 at 10 yo and the very first lesson was never point a gun unless you intend to use it.  I watch those pictures of loaded, pointed, assault rifles with horror.  

    My question to everyone is: "Whose going to bell the cat?" We created this monster though political grandstanding in the name of get tough on crime which began as an offshoot of the war on drugs and now follows into the war on terror which can never end.  It's always easier to create a monster than to control it.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:03:51 PM PDT

  •  You are absolutely right... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    begone, Tinfoil Hat, ksuwildkat

    I am a retired US Army CW4.  

    That armed mob in Ferguson Missouri was neither police nor soldiers.  I carefully watched the coverage and deliberately turned off the commentary so I could observe the images without distraction.

    I saw an undisciplined, untrained and uncoordinated rabble.  Did you see those numbskulls swinging their AR-15s around by the pistol grips?  That's an accidental discharge just waiting to happen.  

    Military, my ass.  

    •  did the same thing (0+ / 0-)

      When crowd videos started popping up I did the opposite - listened without the image.  THey were mostly shaky anyway.  But from the sounds you could hear the lack of discipline by the police.  No organization.  No fire commands.  Individuals making individual decisions.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 06:35:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I really like this distinction. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A well equipped force as opposed to a well regulated militia. Our police now have heavy armament and lack training, doctrine and discipline.

    Clearly a failure of leadership.

    "We are how we treat each other and nothing more."

    by Mr Bojangles on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:54:58 PM PDT

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