“From Warfighter to Crimefighter”

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The Current Events Inquiry blog points out that the Pentagon’s 1033 program—the program by which the Defense Department transfers surplus military equipment to domestic police departments—hit an all-time high last year.

The quaterly newsletter, titled All Points Bulletin, is an official publication of the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), which is currently a part of the Defense Logistics Agency. A tag line used in the newsletter reads: “from warfighter to crimefighter.” In the recent October issue, LESO program manager Craig Barret brags that “[FY 2011] has been a historic year for the program. We reutilized more than $500M, that is million with an M, worth of property in FY 11. This passes the previous mark by several hundred million dollars.”…

Elsewhere in the same publication it is revealed that LESO issued 800 Humvees in FY2011, a 700% increase from FY2010. In the same time period 27 Armored Vehicles were distributed as well. One of the latest vehicles declared up-for-grabs is the South African manufactured REVA 4×4 Armored Personnel Carrier. LESO previously boasted that “its V-shaped hull offers protection against land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), and has space for at least 10 passengers.”

It’s easy to become inoculated to the outrage, here. So let’s reiterate: The U.S. government is boasting about how it has enabled equipment specifically designed to help U.S. troops kill foreign soldiers during war . . . to be used on American streets, against American citizens. Not only that, but the government is particularly proud of the fact that last year, significantly more military equipment was diverted for that purpose than ever before.

Also, more coverage of the militarization issue this week from The Daily, which also notes the record year for the 1033 program.

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16 Responses to ““From Warfighter to Crimefighter””

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The U.S. government is boasting about how it has enabled equipment specifically designed to help U.S. troops kill foreign soldiers during war . . . to be used…against American citizens.

    When you put it that way, it sounds really bad. So let’s not put it that way.

  2. #2 |  BamBam | 

    All just a coincidence. Nothing to see here. No connection and causation between multiple data points (Radley’s research, escalation of violence by police especially for non-crimes, political moves to infringe on all rights).

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    How did the country with the most thoughtful and articulate
    Constitution ever created– with clear, specific limitations on the powers of Government–give way to full-blown military-style assault tactics on the citizenry? That’s the part I’m not getting. I gotta say, I warned em
    Posse Comitatus sounded too much like “Pussy” and “Commie”
    to be of any use.

  4. #4 |  SJE | 

    It seems that the Syrian government has the same idea. Check out Andrew Sullivan’s blog, with a picture of a tank painted blue, which is important because, “The Arab League asks Assad to pull back his military to their barracks in order to stop massacring the Syrian people. So instead, Assad orders the tanks to be painted and tells them ‘The army has withdrawn, we only have police deployed for safety and security.'”

    It would be better for everyone if the US military just donated these weapons to our friends and allies.

  5. #5 |  Aresen | 

    Wait till Sherriff Joe gets his hands on an Apache…

  6. #6 |  Joshua | 

    SJE raises an important point. If we have police officers wearing military camouflage, carrying military weapons, driving military vehicles, and using military assault tactics… then isn’t it just playing semantic games to call them “police” instead of “soldiers”? Could the federal government re-brand the Air Force as the “Air Police” and start executing bombing raids on suspected criminals?

  7. #7 |  SJE | 

    Its ironic, that just as the police are living out some teenage boys wet dream of high powered weapons laying waste bad guys, the US military has realized the limits of “kinetic action” to defeat the enemy, and the benefits of establishing relationships of trust.

  8. #8 |  Single Acts of Tyranny | 

    It does rather suggest they fear what is coming.

  9. #9 |  BamBam | 

    @8 but hiding behind “I’m just following orders” isn’t a valid and moral position. If any cop truly does think, and STILL comes to the conclusion that “might is right, and I shall smite any serf who isn’t aight” then that person is truly evil.

    Either way you cut it, one must accept responsibility for their actions, ESPECIALLY when it comes to infringing on a person’s liberty using the vehicle of government (and thus violence).

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Could the federal government re-brand the Air Force as the “Air Police” and start executing bombing raids on suspected criminals?

    Nah… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE

  11. #11 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    but hiding behind “I’m just following orders” isn’t a valid and moral position.

    I wish. The armed thugs of the state seldom (if ever) face consequences. Post any revolution it is the police who are handed control after the “leader” is ousted. Same police who were busting heads.

    In the US add the fact that the-strongest-union-in-the-world controls the police. These guys (as a group) are untouchable. A very privileged club…to our detriment. And, there is a tremendous number of truly evil people who are cops.

  12. #12 |  Aresen | 

    Boyd Durkin | December 6th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    The armed thugs of the state seldom (if ever) face consequences. Post any revolution it is the police who are handed control after the “leader” is ousted. Same police who were busting heads.

    I remember reading that Felix Dzerzhinsky took on many of the old Okhrana officers when he formed the Cheka.

  13. #13 |  JOR | 

    To some extent I tend to think this is poetic justice. Americans are getting what they’ve been dishing out through their employees for decades, and they’re getting it not from funny talking Islamofascist Mexican Communists but from a caste of enforcers they practically worship (many of whom are the same people who were doing the dishing out to said foreigners). Beautiful. As Herbert Spencer and others noticed, when you try to control others, you end up sacrificing your own freedom as well. I’d add that you damned well deserve any losses you suffer for it.

    But then I remember that there is no justice in the world. The people most likely to suffer at the hands of these things are the politically irrelevant. Would that the voters and taxpayers, let alone the corporate-union leadership, were the primary targets, rather than occasional collateral damage, of the brunt of pig violence… but we’d just as soon get rainbow-farting unicorns to coalesce out of pure love and goodness.

  14. #14 |  CyniCAl | 

    #6 | Joshua — “Could the federal government re-brand the Air Force as the “Air Police” and start executing bombing raids on suspected criminals?”

    Of course they could! Who’s gonna stop them?

  15. #15 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    Another data point in favor of the “police are the standing army our founders warned us about” argument.

  16. #16 |  Jim | 

    “rainbow-farting unicorns to coalesce out of pure love and goodness.”

    DAMN, that was funny!!! Thanks for the laugh!!

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