The Militarization of Civilian Police

Mark Steyn’s post today at NRO deals in part with the use of armed drones by the military.

For a war without strategic purpose, a drone’ll do. Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen born in New Mexico, was whacked by a Predator not on a battlefield but after an apparently convivial lunch at a favorite Yemeni restaurant. Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman was dining on the terrace of another local eatery when the CIA served him the old Hellfire Special and he wound up splattered all over the patio. Abdulrahman was 16, and born in Denver. As I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that American minors, convicted of the most heinous crimes, cannot be executed. But you can gaily atomize them halfway round the planet.

That sort of killing raises some difficult questions, and the prospect of such use of drones by civilian law enforcement brought Rand Paul to the floor of Senate for his recent filibuster.

Far fetched?

The Department of Education has its own SWAT team and has used it to conduct a raid at the wrong address that left a homeowner handcuffed in a hot police car for 6 hours. Over someone else’s student loan fraud. Even the Railroad Retirement Board has armed agents. OK, I can understand that agency Inspectors General need to conduct investigations to uncover fraud and the like, but couldn’t the door-kicking be detailed out to the U. S. Marshals?

Mr. Steyn asks:

If it’s not “far-fetched” for the education secretary to have his own SWAT team, why would it be “far-fetched” for the education secretary to have his own drone fleet? … When you consider the resources brought to bear against a nobody like Randy Weaver for no rational purpose, is it really so “far-fetched” to foresee the Department of Justice deploying drones to the Ruby Ridges and Wacos of the 2020s?

Read the whole thing.

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