The secret war

Assault rifles, grenade launchers, Blackhawk helicopters, .50 caliber machine guns, and even armored tanks, no, this is not an example of the weaponry being employed in a remote region in Afghanistan; but an example of the type of weapons being transferred to local police units across the United States. From Texas, Iowa, North Dakota, California, to Florida, examples of paramilitary police units are becoming more common. This transformation has received bipartisan support from our politicians.

Tracing the origins of this rueful trend can be found under the Reagan administration. The disastrous “War on Drugs” prompted officials to intensify their efforts in combating the evils of drug abuse. Weapons, allocated funds, and manpower were transferred from military units to police units. SWAT teams were employed for drug raids and to fulfill the “Zero Tolerance” mantra of the 1980’s. President Clinton’s passing of the 1033 program allowed for the incorporation of military-style weapons into domestic police units.

The militarization of police units has been profoundly expanded under President Obama. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the Pentagon transferred almost $500 million worth of materials to domestic law enforcement.

Deadly police raids are frequently carried out across the country coupled with “routine” military drills in urban areas such as Los Angeles and Miami. Numerous Federal agencies (e.g. United States Postal Service) have been purchasing billions of dollars worth of ammunition including hollow-tipped bullets. What is the point of all this? This seems like an ominous prelude of darker things to come. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy” James Madison.

Christopher Erdman

South Williamsport

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom