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Post Police Violence, and "War on Cops" in US
Created by John Eipper on 12/31/15 4:38 AM

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Police Violence, and "War on Cops" in US (Cameron Sawyer, USA, 12/31/15 4:38 am)

If I may attempt to bridge the gap a little between Paul Pitlick and Mike Sullivan (29 and 30 December), concerning police killings: Mike is certainly right, that most Americans don't fear being killed by police, because most Americans don't fit the profile of people at risk of being killed by cops. Therefore, it's not an apt comparison. However--that does not mean that the very high number of police killings in the US is OK. On the contrary, it is very much not OK. Deadly force is not justified under our laws, or under any civilized laws, to prevent a suspect from running away.

In my opinion, the US clearly has a problem, not experienced in other developed countries, and an alarming problem. Excessively violent police tactics, or failure to eliminate violent individuals from police work, or a culture of violence among the police--are all possible parts of the problems. But a still bigger piece of the problem, probably, is the existence of a violent, alienated underclass in the first place. Other developed countries do not have these problems; so why do we? Why are we, in this, more like Brazil or South Africa, than like Germany, Italy, Japan, France, or [pick any developed country, anywhere in the world], although we are richer than any of those? It doesn't make sense, and we shouldn't put up with it.

As to how to fight wars--I don't think any of us can argue with General Sullivan. But I don't think our problem in Afghanistan or Iraq was at all a military problem. I think we did learn our lessons, at least one of them, from Vietnam, the one mentioned about overwhelming force. Our military (together with NATO allies to some extent, in the case of Afghanistan) did use overwhelming force, and won on the battlefield quite quickly. Our military performed brilliantly. The problem was what we were fighting for. We don't fight wars just for fun; we fight them to achieve certain goals. And in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the goals were poorly formulated and unachievable, and the end result in both cases was quite the opposite of what we hoped to achieve. I think that's the second lesson from Vietnam, which we did not indeed learn, and it is the corollary of what Giap and Ho understood so well--Mao's "time, space and will" of guerrilla warfare. See: http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/20thcentury/articles/maotsetunggiap.aspx .

We made the incorrect and amazingly naïve assumption that the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan would be delighted to be freed of their supposed oppressors, and would immediately set about setting up, with a little help from us, Jeffersonian and, naturally strongly pro-US, democracies, as soon as we smashed the oppressors on the battlefield. How it really turned out--well, now we know, don't we?

How to deal with ISIS--I have no idea. Smash it on the battlefield?

JE comments:  Very nicely stated.  I haven't had time to read the entire piece at the link above, but I learned one interesting tidbit that I'll remember:  Ho Chi Minh translates as "He who Enlightens."  How many of you knew that?

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