Trump's Ironic Response with one hand on The Bible

The president of the United States bets on the militarization of the police, the use of the army, and uses symbols that deepen the polarization with protesters.

The president poses with the Bible in front of St Johns' church near the White House.

This Monday, shortly before the seven o'clock curfew, the police forcibly dissolved a demonstration that was going on without altercations in Washington DC. With the streets already cleared, Trump left with his entourage at 7:01 p.m. to St. John's Church, nicknamed the Church of the Presidents, - also indignant to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington - to take a photo with the Bible and declare: "We have the best country in the world". He was accompanied, among others, by the Chief of Defense Staff, General Mark Milley; and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Minutes later, Esper and Milley, dressed in the military uniform, visited the National Guard troops deployed on the streets of the capital.

General Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, walking the streets of Washington DC right now. Briefly spoke to say he is observing the situation.

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Hours before the 'operation photo', the president, Esper, Milley, and the attorney general, Bill Barr, had a telematic meeting with the country's governors. Trump urged governors to request the presence of the National Guard. "We have to dominate the battlespace," said the defense secretary. Trump reported that he had placed the Army chief of staff in command of the response: "General Milley is here. A warrior, a war hero, many victories, and no defeat, and he hates to see how this is being managed in various states. I just put him in charge. "

"If a state or city refuses to take the necessary measures, I will quickly deploy the US Army and quickly solve the problem for them," said the president. "I will also take decisive action to protect our great capital. I have deployed thousands upon thousands of heavily armed soldiers," he added. The use of the Army is added to the progressive militarization of the police, both in tactics employed and in the material.

"What surprises me is not the images of the protesters or rioters, but the police making the situation worse and giving the protesters reason," says Spencer Willardson, a war veteran. "In many areas, the police are the problem. What I see is a lack of training, empathy, professionalism, and accountability. In many areas, the police are out of control," adds the now university professor, who considers yourself a conservative person.

"Seeing the Chief of the General Staff walking around DC like in a war zone gives me chills. I teach civil-military relations and I'm not sure that the current leadership realizes how damaging this type of 'leadership' is for these relationships and for the trust that the military enjoys in a large part of the population, "he adds in a blog post.

Lindsay P. Cohn, a professor at the US Naval War College, is also an expert on civil-military relations: "My personal reading is that democracy shouldn't address protests like this. We really don't know what effect it may have. There are many examples of a Great use of force that causes people to scatter and go home out of fear - although that doesn't mean it is appropriate. - But it can also result in an upward spiral. "

In a video broadcast on Sunday on Twitter, several Minneapolis agents, escorted by a military Humvee, are shot at several people who were on the porch of their home. "I am not an expert in police tactics, but I can say that I would not have allowed this to my soldiers in Iraq," tweeted Jim Golby, an active-duty military officer who led a team in Iraq and is currently working as a defense policy adviser at the representation. of the USA before NATO.
Hours before that incident, the Minnesota State Department of Security stated: "The situation on the ground in Minneapolis and St Paul has changed and the response tonight will be different. The presence of the National Guard and police will triple to address a sophisticated urban guerrilla network The same day, the Minnesota National Guard published a tweet - which he later deleted - with the image of a tank: "We would never drive it around the city because it would damage the roads."

Willardson recalls that in 2007 he was deployed to the American prison in Camp Bucca, Iraq. "We discovered a tunnel to escape and when we tried to block it, the prisoners rioted. For almost 12 hours, we had a non-lethal battle with 1,000 detainees. It was hell. The soldiers at that complex demonstrated more control than what I see in many policemen in the demonstrations, "he says.

"Our nation has been caught by professional anarchists, violent crowds, arsonists, looters, criminals, Antifa, and others," Trump said Monday. Gone are the reflections of George Bush's Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during the Iraq war: "While no one approves of the looting, on the other hand, you can understand the repressed feelings that can result from decades of repression and people who have seen as the regime killed members of his family and I don't think there is anyone in those images ... [who did not] accept it as part of the price of moving from a regime of repression to freedom. "

Police Militarization: Obama vs. Trump

Police in the US have been in a process of progressive militarization for decades thanks to a 1996 law that allows the Pentagon to deliver to the local police departments the surplus of weapons and equipment at no cost under the so-called 1033 Program. Only between 2006 and 2014, the Local police officers across the country received $ 1.5 billion worth of military equipment: 6,000 armored mine and ambush vehicles, 79,288 assault rifles, 205 grenade launchers, 50 aircraft, 422 helicopters, and $ 3.6 million in camouflage.

The effects of this program were evident to many in the 2014 protests in Ferguson, triggered after the death of Michael Brown, an African American, by the shooting of a police officer. The presence of armored vehicles, the use of camouflage uniforms, and other military equipment surprised the media and protesters. In response, then-President Barack Obama passed an executive order prohibiting the Army from sending certain teams, such as Humvees, to local security forces. Many of these transfers were delayed and even revoked, as the government has the capacity under the program to recover the delivered material.

"Some types of militarization, especially the use of weapons, uniforms, and military tactics, do not appear to help public safety, that of officers, or police relations with the community," says Cohn. "It does not help either a military culture in which the best way to tackle problems is the use of force. It is not useful, it increases the tension. However, not all militarization is bad, like that corresponding to professionalization, training, etc, "he adds.

If it doesn't work, why is it used? "There are several reasons," explains the expert. "In the US context, the equipment makes officers feel more secure. Especially in a country with widespread gun ownership and a lot of crime. They feel threatened and having this military-style material makes them feel more secure and in a better position. to do their job. Also, traditionally in the US political culture approaches crime as a problem that is best solved through fear and domination. "

Through the 1033 program, things have been seen such as a municipality of 29,000 inhabitants with 67 agents taking control of two bomb deactivation robots, 10 tactical trucks, 35 assault rifles, and more than 100 infrared sights. Delaware foresters received 20 M16 rifles, eight M-14s, and 10 45-caliber automatic pistols. In Louisiana, college campus agents seized 12 M-16 rifles to protect 8,811 students.

"Militarizing the police to treat people as threats or as the enemy will only increase the tensions that already exist. Militarizing the police without proper training and without a change of mind in police departments is a very bad trend. When I see policemen going out of their way to make contact with those who are not directly threatening their lives or the lives of others, I get angry, "explains Willardson.

Guy Emerson Mount, professor of African American history at Auburn University, Alabama, maintains that despite the government's description, the protesters are not a mass of brainless people destroying everything in their path. "It is a revolt that has deliberately destroyed police stations, courts, luxury shops, Confederate monuments, and perhaps most importantly, a building used to auction slaves." "These goals are not random, they are symbols of historical injustice. They are attacking the embodiment of the colonial project and its system of racial slave capitalism."

"These protests are being framed by the government in such a way that they generate fear in the Republican base and manage to mobilize the most radical followers through increasingly violent and authoritarian responses," concludes Mount.

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