EXACTLY. Although in that post I talked about the “militarisation of the American police”, the irony is that US Army soldiers, Navy SEALs or Iraq/Afghanistan vets would do a million times a better job at crowd control than those bullies on a power trip masquerading as the Ferguson police department. I am very critical about the US’ actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I can’t help but feel US soldiers would actually be far, far more responsible with their firearms because of the extensive training drilled into them. They wouldn’t be fucking pointing them so carelessly.
US soldiers would actually know the dangers of escalating a situation, because they’ve been in situations where poor judgment will cost the lives of their other unit members. Afghan vets who had to meet with village elders in jirgas to discuss the complaints of Afghans or to hand over blood money for accidental killings of civilians would know a hella more about mediation and calming tensions than those trigger happy fools running the show in Ferguson.
It’s been pretty routine for US Army soldiers to take courses on civil society and Afghan culture in the later years of the war, once military leaders realised they sorely lacked the knowledge to build rapport and cooperation with Afghans.
A vet who has actually been in a firefight or faced a violent mob in a foreign country or who knows militants may be waiting to ambush them would know that the protesters in Ferguson are BARELY a threat. Even if there’s rioters or looters, the Ferguson police don’t look kitted out like riot police in other countries- walking around carrying guns instead of shields and batons. Look how the Ferguson police have been walking around with their gun barrels UP and POINTED AT PEOPLE NOT POSING A THREAT
Instead of DOWN like these US soldiers patrolling a street in the village of Shabila Khan, Afghanistan
Or this soldier talking to civilians while on patrol in Hamza, Iraq. (I suppose the Ferguson police would still think perhaps that old man carrying the child could be a militant in disguise, right, even if his hands are where everyone can see them?)
Yes, and all these pictures are of soldiers on patrol, soldiers who know there may suddenly be an ambush or an IED attack- dangers far GREATER than what the Ferguson police could even imagine. Yet there’s a clearly greater ability to know not to walk around flippantly pointing your weapon at people’s heads. Have there been cases of rogue soldiers? Of course, like the one soldier who murdered 16 Afghan civilians. He was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment without parole by the US military tribunal and the US government paid blood money to the Afghan victims. (Financial compensation for wrongful deaths or injuries is an Afghan tradition- particularly in the culture of the Pashtun ethnic group.) What I see in cases of US police brutality is this happening multiple times, except it’s always contorted so somehow by the end, even if the victim was unarmed, he somehow “had it coming”, and police officers getting off scott-free.
You know, Iraq was an ill-thought out and unjust war in my opinion. But I feel the US Iraq and Afghanistan veterans probably know a lot more about trying to build rapport with residents of an area they’re patrolling (even if they weren’t 100% successful) and about not pointing their weapons at anyone and everyone. When compared to the US soldiers dealing with much, much more tangible and deadly threats in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s crystal clear the behaviour of the Ferguson police department has been a complete disgrace. And it just shows the dangers of giving people military firepower without military training- you get great power without any responsibility, compassion and thought for the people who might be hurt.
1. Favorite Pokemon?