Spoils of War [Surplus] continued

A few weeks ago I posted on the distribution of war surplus to state and local law enforcement agencies under the DOD’s Excess Property Program. This is all part of a larger trend detailed in the ACLU’s new report, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. From the executive summary:

This investigation gave us data to corroborate a trend we have been noticing nationwide: American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized, in large part through federal programs that have armed state and local law enforcement agencies with the weapons and tactics of war, with almost no public discussion or oversight.Using these federal funds, state and local law enforcement agencies have amassed military arsenals purportedly to wage the failed War on Drugs, the battlegrounds of which have disproportionately been in communities of color. But these arsenals are by no means free of cost for communities. Instead, the use of hyper- aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties.

The Guardian has a useful overview of the report, and notes:

The findings set up a striking and troubling paradox. The Obama administration is completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the US is on the verge of being free from war for the first time in more than a decade; yet at the same time the hardware and tactics of the war zone are quietly proliferating at home.

This does not seem to be much of a paradox, given the focus on federal, state and local policy since 9/11, the heavy investment in “homeland security,” and the federal government’s practice of providing the surplus tools of war to “first responders,” often times for free. In some ways, this was all too predictable.

3 thoughts on “Spoils of War [Surplus] continued

  1. It is obvious,to any independent and critical thinker,that America is being turned into a fascist police state. With that said, a large part of the problem is the inability of large numbers of Americans to make an honest living in the American free enterprise system and instead these same large numbers have turned to government employment for their livelihoods. A famous saying is “war is the health of the state.” Today we have the war on terror,the war on drugs,the war on poverty plus a myriad of functions never envisioned by the founding fathers or not even by the average citizen 50 or 60 years ago. Government,in itself,has turned into a gigantic business that is funded,not by production,but by theft. Taxes,unsustainable debt,inflation and money printing. The productive Economic Class is shrinking and the Political Class is growing. In fact the Political Class now outnumbers and thus out votes the Economic Class. Now the powers that be have erected a police state that reaches down,politically,into the smallest civic units of the nation. And attracted to the “jobs” created by this new police state are the mediocre and losers of society. Guaranteed job,guaranteed salary,guaranteed benefits and guaranteed retirement pension usually at a relatively young age. And as far as the rest of us who produce the wealth that keeps it all going? We are just the mundane subjects of a completely corrupt system that most of us thought could never happen here but has happened.

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