“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have,”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a speech at MIT, 11/29/2011
When I first read that comment I was stunned. Why would a mayor think that the police department he oversees is his private army? An army defends a country against external aggressors; a police department defends the citizenry from criminal behavior. It seems to me that there is a significant, qualitative difference. Why would a mayor think he had a private State Department and why would he think that he has “entree into the diplomatic world” greater and of more importance than the President of the United States and his legally appointed representatives?
On second thought, however, it doesn’t seem so remarkable. After all, this is the same Mayor Bloomberg whom, it seems, manipulated the legislative process so that he might have a third term. This is the same Mayor Bloomberg who ignored a court order and sent his “personal army” against the OWS protesters in Zuccotti Park and the same Mayor Bloomberg who has repeatedly denied reporters and photographers access to operations conducted by his “private army” in clear violation of all our first amendment rights.
The question that comes to mind when I think about Mayor Bloomberg’s statement is was it the result of hubris or megalomania. The comment was made in the context of the Mayor explaining why he didn’t want to run for president; his present job was more powerful. We can only hope that he holds on to that belief because neither hubris nor megalomania would be qualities in a president that would serve our country well.
By the way, Mayor Bloomberg's statement, in addition to its insolence, is also untrue. While numbers cannot be precisely know, it appears that the honor of the seventh largest army goes to Vietnam with 455,000 troops. The NYPD, at about 33,00 officers, is roughly equal to Belgium. On the other hand, Mayor Bloomberg's army is considerably larger than the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force which boast 245 able bodied soldiers.