Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Public Relations Initiative of the Day

Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield —Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne as reported by the AP

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations....

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

Well, Secretary Wynne might be vilified by the world press, but I doubt he has anything to worry about here at home.

As for the public, the military could drive them with cattle prods and produce no more outcry than an occasional bleat.

Of course the Air Force Secretary's remarks also indicate how far we have strayed from the intent of the Posse Comitatus Act, which "forbids the use of the Army and Air Force to enforce civilian laws."

It is not only that the military shouldn't enforce civilian laws, it is also that the military services are not trained to do so. As Congressman John Murtha said in a speech last April,

Our military is not a world police force. They are trained to destroy an enemy, which they do very well. But they are not trained to be policemen....

It is a part of the dark humor of our times that while Secretary Wynne urges that nonlethal weaponry be tested on the American public, the military's lack of training as a police force has been used as justification or extenuation of the atrocities committed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Related post
Are they practicing for Iraq or for Toledo? (12/30/04)


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