Drug War Analogies to the Terror War

Caught this blog post secondhand from the Daily Dish:

Stamps wasn’t killed by a cop. Rather, Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.” I’m also fairly certain that if Mr. Stamps had been the one whose gun discharged a bullet that fatally wounded a SWAT officer, Mr. Stamps’ name would have been released to the public rather quickly. And Carl’s initial statement to the press would have been less ambiguous.

I found a couple of useful analogies to the Overseas Contingency Operations in which we’re currently engaged.

First, in the above quote, the use of euphemism to describe a fatal mistake committed by a police officer, and the speculated lack of euphemism that would’ve been used were the mistake instead committed by the victim, are identical to the forms of speech used in official descriptions of innocent deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan depending on whether they are committed by friendly or enemy forces.  Wikileaks’ analysis of the Afghan War Logs made exactly this point (and not, for those critics who couldn’t be bothered to know what they were talking about, anything about ISI interference, and at least initially, war crimes or the casualties themselves).

The second analogy comes from another quote in the blog:

SWAT tactics are appropriate when you’re using their inherent violence to defuse an already violent situation. When they’re used to serve drug warrants, you’re creating violence where none existed before. The consequences are predictable.

I found this broadly analogous to the current occupations themselves–not just in the tactics used, but in the effect of land invasions and occupations themselves.  The destruction of real or imagined threats is often used in isolation as a justification for such acts.  One can imagine SWAT officers and statesmen alike speaking about the need to destroy such threats in the name of their constituencies.  The danger comes when they fail to allow for enemy agency in response, or for bystanders to decide for themselves if an action is justified, or for the possibility of mistakes.  Force always can and often does backfire.  Given the gravity of the methods involved in war, force must be used as a last resort–even when the threat is real.

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