September 22, 2008

No, You're Not Crazy

You're not crazy, that is, if you've begun to have waking nightmares about what might be coming as the economy worsens and signs of "normalcy" (of what?) begin to vanish from our lives. Many more people without jobs and homeless, tent cities springing up here and there, perhaps regular power outages and growing shortages of goods that had once been plentiful...the list goes on and on.

And what, you might wonder, is our beneficent, all-caring government doing to prepare for this multitude of possibilities? After all, some of those poor, jobless, homeless, starving people might get unruly.

The government of the United States is a wondrous creation and, naturally, it only wants to "help" you:
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.

“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”


They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.


The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”
"Nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them..." Frequently, it doesn't work out that way: "Obey or Die."

But you were being unruly. You might be dangerous, at least dangerous to those who rule us. And honestly, the fact that you may be homeless, starving and desperate is no reason to be rude or uncooperative.

This comes at the very end of the story, offered by the division operations officer:
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”
I'm sure there are people in the military who believe this, or at least think they believe it. But if and when the order comes to fire on American citizens, what happens then? I don't think we want to find out. Many of these individuals are overly familiar with killing innocent people -- as indeed, our criminal war in Iraq is nothing but an operation dedicated to killing innocent people in ungraspably huge numbers -- so a new kind of target probably won't deter them for long, if at all.

Add in all the private mercenary forces now available to the government, and, well...

No, you're not crazy. The reasons for my argument will become clearer in the second and concluding part of this new essay of mine, "The State and Full Spectrum Dominance, Abroad and At Home" -- but this gives you an idea of why I chose the phrase "Full Spectrum Dominance," a phrase that usually refers to U.S. military capabilities in particular, and why I included "At Home." But I am concerned with "Full Spectrum Dominance" in a still broader sense, as I will soon explain.

Pleasant dreams, dear reader.

(Via via, although neither provided the Army Times link.)