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Why The US Military Opposed New Combat Roles in Iraq

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The story published in the Washington Post on 13 June shows how the US military service chiefs - who make decisions on war policy in light of their own institutional interests - prefer an inconclusive war with IS and existing constraints on US involvement, to one with even the most US limited combat role.

The resistance of top US military officials to deepening US military involvement in the war against IS came in the wake of a major policy debate within the Obama administration following the collapse of Iraqi military resistance in Ramadi.

In that debate, senior State Department officials reportedly supported the option of putting US advisers into Iraqi combat units to direct airstrikes on IS positions and sending US Apache attack helicopters into urban combat situations. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, joined top military commanders in opposing that option, the Post story recounted. Dempsey was said to have concluded that the potential gains from such an escalation were not worth the costs in terms of possible US combat losses.
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Road Pirates: Assemble! 'Desert Snow' is Coming to Idaho

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It isn’t often that honest people receive detailed intelligence about a planned gathering of violent men who steal for a living and kill with impunity. An event of that kind will occur from August 10-12th here in Idaho. In fact, I can provide the specific address of the armed robbers’ summit — 700 South Stratford Drive in Meridian. The location is conspicuously marked and easy to find: 
It is the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Academy, which will host a two-day session of Desert Snow’s “Phase 2015” asset forfeiture workshop.

“Civil asset forfeiture,” for the mercifully uninitiated, is a procedure in which police officers and the agencies that employ them steal money and property from people who have never been convicted of a crime, and quite often never face criminal charges. The agency designates the desired property as “proceeds” of illicit activity and then files an “in rem” civil lawsuit against it – not the owner of the property, but the property itself. In this process, the burden of proof is placed on the victim, rather than the perpetrator.

Fighting an act of state-licensed larceny of this kind is prohibitively expensive and frequently futile, which means that the privileged plunderers generally make out like the bandits they unfailingly prove themselves to be.
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Policing and Defending Then and Now

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Inevitably the debate over issues that relate to both national security and domestic law enforcement often become mired down in wrangling over legal or constitutional niceties, which the public has difficulty in following as it fixates instead on the latest twist in the Bruce Jenner saga. That means that the punditry and media concentrate on easily digestible issues like potential bureaucratic fixes, budgeting, equipment and training, which presumably are both simpler to understand and also more susceptible to possible remedies. But they ignore some basic questions regarding the nature and viability of the actual threat and the actual effectiveness of the response even as the dividing line between military and law enforcement functions becomes less and less evident.

There has been a fundamental transformation of the roles of both police and the armed services in the United States, a redirection that has become increasingly evident since the 1990s when the conjoined issues of national security and crime rates became political footballs. Response to terrorism and “tough on crime” attitudes frequently employ the same rhetoric, incorporating both political and social elements that place police forces and the military on the same side in what might plausibly be described as a version of the often cited clash of civilizations.

A nation’s army traditionally exists to use maximum force to find and destroy enemies that threaten the homeland. A police force instead serves to protect the community against criminal elements using the minimum force necessary to do the job. Those roles would appear to be distinct but one might reasonably argue that the armed forces and the police in today’s America have become the two major constituents of the same organism more-or-less connected by a revolving door, dedicated to combating a new type of insurgency that comprises both global and domestic battlefields and is no respecter of borders.
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