08.16.14

The wisdom of this was never questioned

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror, WhiteManistan at 12:09 pm by George Smith

From the NYT, yesterday (no link):

All these programs began or were expanded in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, when the authorities in Washington declared that local police departments were on the front lines of a global war on terrorism. Terrorism is exceedingly rare, however, and the equipment and money far outpaced the threat.

“You couldn’t say that back then with as much certainty as you can say that now, though,” said Frank J. Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. After Sept. 11, few people asked whether the police would use the equipment against protesters, Mr. Cilluffo said. “By and large, I don’t recall an outcry of any sort historically along these lines.”


For years, much of the equipment has gone unnoticed. But as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have drawn down, police departments have been receiving 30-ton, mine-resistant trucks from the military.


An MRAP in Salinas, CA. Note armored machine gun cupola, an absolute must on America’s streets.

From the Daily Mail, last year

A California police department has received a 37,000 armored truck that was once used in military training exercises.

The Salinas Police Department took ownership of the hulking tank-like vehicle on December 17 and parked it in front of the town’s Rotunda for public viewing.

The $650,000 truck has caused quite a stir in the town, with many residents questioning why a military armored vehicle would be needed in civilian situations.

“In a press release, Police chief Kelly McMillin said the department was in desperate need of a replacement for the 1986 Ford money carrier officers used as a rescue vehicle,” it continues.

Look at this picture, and all the pictures of MRAP armored fighting vehicles in small town America, here at Google, and you begin to see the nature of the problem. Everyone likes showing off their panzer.

Look closer at the collections of armored fighting vehicle photos and where they are archived. You’ll also notice a character trait: People get hard over the pictures of heavy military gear.

While the stocking of American police departments with MRAP AFVs is now big news (it’s also worth noting one was not in Ferguson), there has never been any well-publicized outcry in the mainstream on the matter.

Anything for fighting the bad guys and keeping us safe from terrorism. Search and destroy.

On the small town of Dundee, MI, population 4000:

Participating in the exercise was the Dundee Police Department’s armored vehicle called MRAP, or Mines Resistance Ambush Protected. Operated by Chief David Uhl and Sgt. David Kottke, the vehicle became part of Dundee’s force about nine months ago.

The 22-ton former military vehicle, which has a value of about $850,000, came to the department at no cost. Chief Uhl said it provides security for police officers in dangerous situations and is available to any police agency in Monroe County.

“It was an opportunity of a lifetime to get a vehicle like this for Monroe County,” the chief said.

And this link shows a rough collection of counties which were given MRAP AFVs by the Dept. of Defense, situations where it was thought they would better serve a collection of small towns.

While viewing, always keep in mind that no terrorist groups actually had armored fighting forces. Until Iraq, where we have now bombed an MRAP seized from the American-trained Iraqi military by ISIS:

U.S. warplanes on combat patrols over northern Iraq increasingly are hitting U.S.-made armored vehicles captured by Islamic militants from the fleeing Iraqi army.

In the latest airstrikes Thursday, the U.S. Central Command said that a mix of fighters and armed drones destroyed one of the heavily-armored Mine Resistant-Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that were a mainstay of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The MRAP was targeted after the warplanes destroyed two other armored vehicles northeast of the Kurdish capital of Irbil that were being used by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to fire on positions held by the Kurdish peshmerga forces, the Central Command said in a statement.

The MRAP had a use. Now it doesn’t. It would be fair to describe the Dept. of Defense’s giveaways of them in the continental US as a program that’s a potentially menacing nuisance, but more commonly of little or no social benefit to anyone.

It would be an interesting exercise to find out who, at DoD, thought that providing these things to small and medium-sized town police forces was a capital idea. Did they write a white paper on it?

There should be no optimism, despite all the current press, that there will be changes.

8 Comments

  1. Anon said,

    August 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Okay, so these military vehicles are available for VERY small places with very small police forces, kind of like all of those mail order “war surplus” purchases Wiley E. Coyote used to make in pursuit of the Road Runner.

    So, I’m wondering. Are these vehicles available for individual purchase? I’m asking for family members who (for SOME reason) like going shopping on Black Friday. They’d never have to worry about getting a parking space again. Hell, I’d want one, just to prevent ever being cut off again in rush hour traffic.

  2. Christoph Hechl said,

    August 19, 2014 at 2:56 am

    I have no source for this, so you should take it as a rumour:
    I was once told by an ex-military, that the running costs for the use and maintenance of that type of equipement often exceed the initial cost.
    If that is true the deal has 2 (maybe 3) interesting points:
    – DoD saves on the cost for unnecessariy equip
    – at the same time insures, that the request for spare parts and maintenance personnel from the weapons manufacturers doesn’t drop
    (- heavy equip is widely available if need for it should arise)
    In any case its plain stupid to dehumanize policemen and turn them from potential friend to potential threat.

  3. Anon said,

    August 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I can sort-of confirm parts of that. A family member went ROTC in college and did tank commander training ~30 years ago. The tanks were good for about 350 miles of driving, tops, before something significant broke on them, requiring that it be removed from active use for extensive repairs.

    I’d expect that the MRAP is similar. It’s a very heavy vehicle with a very large engine, an all-wheel drive system (probably), with a good bunch of complicated and expensive electronics making it go. Look out if someone finds a structural weak spot on those, where one good hit turns it into a fancy death box.

    I’m not wishing anything bad to happen to anyone, but when an armored vehicle fails, it’s never pretty for the crew.

  4. Ted Jr said,

    August 20, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Just about the only thing that gets Whitemanistan riled up is the threat of taking the guns away from ‘law abiding citizens’. Well, if you can’t take the guns away, you can escalate the tactics and equipment 3 or 4 levels beyond what the average citizen has available and that way the guns become a comfort to the Whitemanistan citizens instead of being a threat to authority.

    Neutralisation – coming to an area near you.

  5. George Smith said,

    August 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

    The MRAP isn’t even suitable for some small town roads. It’s too heavy. One link I didn’t publish was some township sheriff in Delaware commenting he wasn’t interest in armored car purchases. He specifically mentioned the MRAP, saying it couldn’t be driven in his area because old piping under the roads was terra cotta and would be damaged by it. Tire replacement costs on these things, alone, must be absurd. Would a township police force buy one of those giant dump trucks mining firms use? Of course, they’d laugh. But they take free MRAP, which are just the most absurd end of it. Speaking of breakdowns, what happens when the money isn’t there for repair and it’s just a huge edifice of slowly rusting metal? They don’t even have easy access to anything that would be able to junk it.

    Mark my words, after a month or two the legislative push to stop shipment of armored fighting vehicles to police forces will have petered out. Certainly it will go no place in the House.

    One might think the President would be able to do something. He is the commander-in-chief. He could call up the office in the Pentagon and tell them to stop it until his administration was over. Or, at the very least, indicate that they out to voluntarily halt the program.

    I’ll talk of this more later but the equipment from the national security apparatus is only used on the poor. As a military strategy, it’s been apparent for well over a couple decades and I have a tag category on it — Bombing Paupers.

    Domestically, it’s the same. And more African-Americans and Hispanics are poor than white Americans.

  6. George Smith said,

    August 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Here we go, maintenance of an MRAP — and there are a bunch of models — is expensive. It is probably one of the reasons DoD wanted to unload the burden, they lease them, to local police forces. They’re no taxpayer bargain.

    From a recent newspaper on a Saginaw County, Michigan, decision to rid themselves of the vehicle, which was never used:


    I made the decision about a month ago to decommission that vehicle,” Federspiel said, noting he did it based on financial concerns due to unforeseen maintenance costs.

    While the military was to provide any needed parts, Federspiel said he still had to pay for a specialized mechanic to install the parts, along with insurance and fuel for the vehicle.

    When Saginaw County Commissioners asked him to look for cost-saving measures before setting the budget in July, the MRAP was the first thing to go …

    If you go to the link you’ll see the original idea was to use “drug case forfeiture” profits to cover its expense. That didn’t work out because the country is cash-strapped and they went into the general fund.

    “Drug forfeiture” collections money, which is can now be done without a conviction, is another buzz term for stuff that falls predominantly on the poor, particularly black and brown America, even though every color uses drugs at the same percentage.

    You can’t get blood from stones. I sincerely doubt taking the valuables of the poor people in an area and boiling it down to cash furnishes enough to maintain vehicles originally cost from half a million to almost a million a piece.

    Here’s the link

    http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2014/08/saginaw_county_sheriff_getting.html

  7. Bob said,

    August 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I think you are missing the key here. There are a lot of people who work for companies that design and build things for the military, so if these people are to remain employed, there must be an outlet for what these companies sell. Appropriating money for the military and “security” is politically expedient, especially given that the unemployment rate would be much higher than it is now if military didn’t employ people to fight wherever we can find an excuse to start a war and companies like Raytheon, Boeing, etc., didn’t have the income from the government to build things for the military. The sale of things like MRAP to the local police using money given to the local police in the form of grants, is just a way of selling products that keep people employed doing things that are not really useful in any meaningful way. All of the pr surrounding the sale of military hardware to police forces is just that – pr. It diverts attention from the flow of money.

    Think of it as a more sophisticated and less useful version of the WPA of the depression. A program like the WPA would not be politically viable, especially since money wouldn’t change hands enough to allow for creative accounting and financing in the so-called private sector. (I say so-called because regardless of what people like to think, a lot of the private sector relies on government money, even that which isn’t related to the military, e.g., Elon Musk and Tesla motor cars.)

    The government would offer grants to police forces to buy rocket launchers if someone figured out the politically viable pr to sell the idea to the public. I think that hasn’t happened only because no one has given it too much thought, not because the public isn’t gullible enough.

    Follow the money and it all points to corporate welfare disguised in diversionary and divisive rhetoric.

  8. George Smith said,

    August 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I agree with you, particularly with regards to the WPA comparison. Good comment. There are grants for people to better themselves. These come in large numbers in the case of loans for schooling and they wind up being a ripoff, as more and more news agencies report. And that is because a national industry of mostly fraudulent certificate colleges has been set up to soak them off, providing worthless paper and associates training that in now way guarantees any employment. Last Sunday, the NYT had a feature on it.

    You could have a thought experiment in which DHS releases a memo:

    At the Department of Homeland Security we are devoted to the preserving the safety and well-being of all Americans. We have recently perceived a flaw in our reasoning having to do with the Security Initiative grant program. It is being suspended in favor of economic empowerment grants to individuals in communities under the rationale that people creating a healthy economy may provide a great deal of security as a group and render the environment unfertile as ground for radicalization and domestic unrest. The grants range from 150,000 to 350,000 depending on need and can only be applied for by individual citizens, not corporations or agencies with proposals to act as formal platforms for retraining or economic development. Grant money can be spent in any way (education, purchase of transportation, food & housing, national or world travel, starting a business, secondary philanthropy, etc.) except in the purchase of weapons, armored vehicles or stockpiled munitions and non-lethal crowd control stockpile.

    A ridiculous concept. Politicians would recommend it be given to states as block grants, to be parceled out to business cronies, or administered only under the strictest conditions. And able to be sent to the general fund if the state needs money for something, anything else. In fact, this kind of program has been aired a number of times over the past few years.

    Musk knows where the money is. Particularly with SpaceX, which goes equally for everyone involved in new lifting body work provided by the private sector. He know the government will pay SpaceX. The military doesn’t give a shit. It has its own space program. So we have a private and public sector space programs, both funded by taxpayers, who pay more the second, the one they don’t see.