Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I remember when riots broke out in L.A. after the Rodney King verdict in 1992. One key aspect of that memory was seeing on TV Marines and National Guard, armed with M-16s, patrolling the streets. I realize I didn't live through the Watts riots of the 1960s or similar racial unrest, but... those images on TV in 1992 seemed disturbingly out of place.

As well they should have.

Since then, the military has become more and more involved in our cities.  As other government agencies have become increasingly ineffective at what they do, the National Guard -- and more troubling, the active-duty force -- have taken greater roles in everything from training police to providing disaster relief.  Combined with the militarization of police departments, the result is that utility combat uniforms no longer seem so out of place in urban America.

This just reinforces that trend:
Joint military training exercises will be held evenings in downtown Los Angeles through Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.  The LAPD will be providing support for the exercises, which will also be held in other portions of the greater Los Angeles area, police said...

The exercises are designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirements, police said.
Oh... so I guess there are no facilities on any of our installations here and around the world where military units can certify their deployment readiness and urban operational capability?   Really?   Really?

Sorry... there has to be a better way to "train" and "certify" for legitimate military missions beside maneuvering around in America's second-largest city.  Unless the real point is getting people used to having them there.  The current "Occupy LA" movement doesn't need competition, thank you very much.

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