Why Do So Many Recent Veterans Dislike Police Officers?

The Long March

Tom note: Here is the fourth entry in our 10 Long March posts for 2018, the 7th most-read item of the year, which originally ran on April 23,  2018. These posts are selected based on what’s called ‘total engaged minutes’ (the total number of time spent reading and commenting on an article) rather than page views, which the T&P; editors see as a better reflection of Long March reader interest and community. Thanks to all of you for reading, and for commenting–which is an important part of this column. 


The April photos out of Newnan, Georgia, of local police pointing rifles at peaceful demonstrators over the weekend, reminded me of a running discussion I’ve been having with several friends: Why do so many of our recent veterans dislike police officers?

The first answer, which some have said to me, is that the cops treat them like they treated Afghans and Iraqis, with weapons, flex-ties, and shouts that often were not understood. A second answer is that while our vets were off fighting our wars, a lot of local police militarized after 9/11, getting body armor, military helmets, automatic weapons, and even wheeled armored vehicles.

But a third, more complex answer, on top of those two, is that the soldiers feel they were well trained to use all that tactical gear, but that the police are not — and that is dangerous.

“The worst thing we can do is give police military equipment without the training that needs to go with it,” Aaron Barruga, a former Special Forces soldier, wrote in my old Best Defense column. “Without such training, departments that are given military equipment simply will informally make up their own tactics. This uncertainty can lead quickly to tactics that are actually dangerous to officers and citizens alike.”

What do you think, commenters? Are you under 35 or so, and if so, have you felt this way toward the police? (Old white guys, your experience is different. When I got pulled over on I-95 in Maine in December in our rental Behemoth, after a deer clobbered our Subaru, the State Trooper smiled and said, “I have to ask this: Do you have any drugs in the vehicle”?—and then he laughed. My wife said, “Well, Ambien.”)

Christian Mathias/Twitter

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

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(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.

After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.

The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

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(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

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