Category Archives: military

Rise of the Warrior Poets..i mean cops..i mean…

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article in August of last year that caught my attention. It focused on the militarization of the US police force. “Rise of the Warrior Cop“, which showcased the exponential increase in SWOT teams across the US.

Book image below with same title/name.

rise of warrior cop

From the article in WSJ …”the country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.”

In today’s NYT, they show a very captivating photo on the home page of NYT.com of three armed SWOT type commandos rushing a protestor in Ferguson, MO. The article suggests this man was protesting a shooting. If so, why all the use of force? Curious to learn more.

military style domestic peace keeping

The question that starts to form could be…how many police officers do we need carrying sub machine guns, bayonets, or transporting in armored personnel carriers? This question can be viewed through the prism of (a) number of violent crimes committed over the last 30+ years and (b) number of crimes committed by assault rifles (and their ilk) vs smaller handguns and less powerful “force multipliers”.  Thus, maybe SWOT style responses are warranted in some cases, others possibly not (see Deterrence Theory as a possible organizing principle).

Anecdotal evidence suggests there is love affair with all things commando in the US, from navy seal books such as The Trident to modern day films such as Act of Valor or Hollywood blockbusters like Lone Survivor.

Presumably this love affair has a direct implication on how we staff our domestic policing forces and/or is a direct outcome of the much talked about “military industrial complex” in the US.

A country at war…

I just finished “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen. With our societies cultural fascination of SEALs, figured I would pick up the latest shoot ’em thriller at the airport this week while flying back to LA from Rochester. It read quick and I was done by the time wheels were down on the west coast.

No Easy Day

Not sure the hardback illuminated the training and tactics of special forces any more than say “Teamates: SEALs at War” by Barry Enoch, or “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell.  It was explicit and concise in the actual take down of UBL during the mission, but the rest was too vague for my satisfaction.

I actually found “No Easy Day” more of cursory glance at the long arc of our proxy war against Pakistan than insightful commentary into the training and deployment of the SEALs. While it never delved into the geo-political nuances of fighting “wars” on various fronts, it provided insight into a warrior’s motivation and personal sacrifice for that career choice.

I am still a bit confused on why the author broke omerta? Maybe a bone to pick with his former teams, a political statement (but if that was the case, the book was missing any explicit verbal attack of our commander in chief or other political leaders)? Maybe he just had something to get off his chest and wanted to be published.

The bright side..the book did contain some interesting photos of the operator’s kit.