28 Sep 2008

Army Gets Ready for Civil Unrest–in the US of A

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Naturally they aren’t billing it the way I have done above, but really, there isn’t much left to the imagination in this article at the Army Times from September 8. The article starts out pleasantly enough:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

Aww, how sweet of them! Rather than bringing freedom and security to Iraqis and Afghans, they’re going to build dams and remove fallen trees. Be all you can be, fellas!

But then the article takes an odd turn, when they elaborate on the new training the Army of One (Quarter Million) is receiving:

In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

Now the funny/sad thing is, I’m sure a lot of regular Joes would read the above and scoff at my paranoia. But c’mon folks, obviously if the United States were to turn into a dictatorship, it wouldn’t happen overnight. But the Bush Administration has been one heckuva good start.

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