2 years, 11 months ago
My son Daniel did a combat tour of Fallujah in 2007, but his other deployment with the Marine Corps was a MEU to the Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf (which both he and I think is a horrible way to throw away money if we’re never going to use the Marine Corps for anything on these MEUs except for humanitarian missions – but that’s another topic).
As the pre-deployment workup for this MEU, the Battalion underwent extensive training in evidence collection protocol and procedures. At the time I dismissed this as an aberration and thought no more of it. Then the Washington Post recently had this article, and it made me think again.
When U.S. Special Operations forces raided several houses in the Iraqi city of Ramadi in March 2006, two Army Rangers were killed when gunfire erupted on the ground floor of one home. A third member of the team was knocked unconscious and shredded by ball bearings when a teenage insurgent detonated a suicide vest.
In a review of the nighttime strike for a relative of one of the dead Rangers, military officials sketched out the sequence of events using small dots to chart the soldiers’ movements. Who, the relative asked, was this man — the one represented by a blue dot and nearly killed by the suicide bomber?
After some hesitation, the military briefers answered with three letters: FBI.
The FBI’s transformation from a crime-fighting agency to a counterterrorism organization in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been well documented. Less widely known has been the bureau’s role in secret operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations around the world.
With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States. The bureau’s agents, in turn, could preserve evidence and maintain a chain of custody should any suspect be transferred to the United States for trial.
[ … ]
… FBI agents were regularly involved in shootings — sometimes fighting side by side with the military to hold off insurgent assaults.
“It wasn’t weekly but it wouldn’t be uncommon to see one a month,” he said. “It’s amazing that never happened, that we never lost anybody.”
Others considered it a natural evolution for the FBI — and one consistent with its mission.
[ … ]
In 2005, all of the HRT members in Iraq began to work under JSOC. At one point, up to 12 agents were operating in the country, nearly a tenth of the unit’s shooters.
It’s been routine to watch every little Podunk Hollow across America acquire MRAPs, and we’ve all seen the horrible result of the militarizaton of police in America with SWAT raids. With former military snipers going to work for federal law enforcement agencies and former military in general finding work with law enforcement across America (which both Daniel and I think is a horrible idea), there may as well never have been a law such as the Posse Comitatus Act. We have virtual military enforcing law and warring against citizens of America as we speak.
But this level of admixture is a new feature (to those of us who weren’t part of JSOC). The professional military has welcomed both law enforcement officers and law enforcement protocol and procedures into its ranks.
The implications of this are perhaps enormous. Quiet Man at WRSA points out that there are formal Army field manuals and doctrine and training documents for site exploitation, and remarks that “virtually everything they do will be ‘”joint” in the agency sense.” Yes, and in the intra-agency sense as well. The military is looking more like law enforcement, and law enforcement is looking more like the military. For those who have been watching, this is likely not accidental, and is an evolution that is at one and the same time both immoral and lawless. This admixture of law enforcement and military is probably irreversible and this fact will prove to be determinative as a catalyst in coming events.