“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” — Sen. Barrack Obama, July 2008.
The first thing that comes to my mind when reading the president’s 2008 campaign statement is what exactly does he mean by “We?”
Secondly, he insists that “to achieve the national security objectives,” a giant security (police) force must be established that is “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as our military.
Kind of a strange statement from a former university constitutional law professor, considering the fact the U.S. Constitution was the result — at least in part — of oppression the British army inflicted upon the colonists, no doubt in the name of what the Red Coats considered “national security.”
The “War on Terror” and “In the interests of national security” chant has become the accepted excuse for increasing surveillance on not only those suspected of having evil intentions but also upon millions of ordinary citizens whose only national security threat is that they made a phone call to order a home delivery pizza or e-mailed a friend the latest football office pool or called home to wish granny a happy birthday.
To compliment this national spying activity, the president said he would like to build a “national security force” to make sure everyone is safe from harm’s way. A force as powerful as the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — combined.
My gut reaction is, what for? While my suspicious concerns prompt me to question the motives of a president promoting such an authoritarian proposal. Especially considering the recent revelations concerning the IRS and National Security Agency’s abuse of power against nearly everyone.
A national police force would be even more frightening. Does anyone still remember world history from the 1930s or is that not even taught anymore?
Also, if we’ve now reached a point where the armed forces and all the various federal, state and local police agencies are considered insufficient to deal with a national security threat, then does the president really think the creation of another police force, administered by Homeland Security, will provide a significant deterrence to any real or imagined danger, both foreign and domestic?
Or maybe this new police force is actually designed to provide eventual control of us?
Retired Marine Corps Col. Pete Martino, of Concord, N.H., thinks this might be the case. During a recent city council meeting, the colonel’s comments caused quite a stir and have gone viral on the Web.
In essence, the colonel says he has become alarmed over civilian police forces taking on the training, tactics, appearance and conduct of U.S. military units. The inclusion of military-grade weapons, similar uniforms and vehicles is additional evidence, he maintains, to a kind of morphing of independent police departments into paramilitary style organizations.
The use of heavily armed SWAT teams to resolve certain situations is becoming increasingly prevalent. More than 100 SWAT raids are conducted a day, a dramatic increase from a decade ago. Often these raids are classified as “No Knock,” meaning the police can charge into someone’s home or business without announcing their presence. Obviously, these tactics sometimes go awry and innocent people are injured or killed as a result.
Close to home, an example of a SWAT team’s overreaction was the killing of Tucson citizen and former Marine Jose Guerena. On the morning of May 5, 2011, Guerena had returned home following working the night shift at one of the local copper mines.
A short time later, four different police agencies, including a SWAT team, surrounded Guerena’s home and began yelling for him to come out. Not knowing who they were or what they were there for, he placed his wife and young son into a closet, grabbed his rifle and stepped into the hallway to confront the intruders.
SWAT fired 70-90 rounds, instantly peppering the hallway, with more than 30 ripping through Guerena’s body. The police then denied him medical attention, and Guerena eventually bled to death.
Guerena never returned a single shot. In fact, his rifle was still on safe when the SWAT team entered to search the home.
The alleged reason for all this show of force: Guerena was suspected of dealing drugs from his home. As it turned out, he wasn’t dealing drugs, and the police found no evidence of such activity in his home.
Later, the City of Tucson was compelled to financially settle with the wife. No disclosure of the amount was released.
In Concord, the colonel’s ire was prompted by the city’s desire to purchase a $258,000 military-type vehicle called a Ballistic Engineered Armed Response Counter Attack Truck, or BearCat. The vehicle is designed to transport police officers to an incident location. Kind of like an armored military personnel carrier.
In addressing a crowded Concord Council meeting, Col. Martino said, in part, he believes “What’s happening here is we’re building a domestic military because it’s unlawful and unconstitutional to use American troops on American soil. So, what we’re doing is building a military. We’re building a domestic army and we’re shrinking the military because the government is afraid of its own citizens.
“The last time more than 10 terrorists were in the same place at the same time was Sept. 11. And all the vehicles in the world wouldn’t have prevented it or helped anybody.
“So I don’t know where we’re gonna use this many vehicles and this many troops. Concord is just one little cog in the wheel. We’re building an army over here, and I can’t believe people aren’t seeing it.