Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Sandy's political fallout

 
I suspect that the sort of American military personnel who would fire on American citizens tend more towards being deep-red rednecks than themselves being "those long-haired pinko-hippie communists". The defense industry that wants to support them also tends towards more conservative than liberal, so IF the US broke out into civil unrest, the military would probably take the opportunity to crush its historical anti-war opponents at home.

And if that sort of situation did arise, I wouldn't be at all surprised (very disappointed, yes, but not surprised) if it led to a Tianenmen Square kind of incident.

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Originally Posted by Lord Ben View Post
If the problems are isolated it might work. But they are not near big enough to police the whole country. They might be effective wherever they are, but not where they aren't.
It's... possible, especially assuming a fifty-fifty split between factions and only one to ten percent of the total population actively engages in combat.

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Originally Posted by Atlictoatl View Post
I don't necessarily expect the US military to side with revolutionary citizenry, but I find myself hoping they'd insist on non-lethal ammunition as long as they weren't themselves being targeted by live rounds.
Judging by their reactions, I don't think you'd have to worry over-much about the military initiating combat against revolutionary citizenry. I can say with reasonable certainty that once the rebels start using live rounds, the military will prosecute hostilities to their inevitable conclusion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
I suspect that the sort of American military personnel who would fire on American citizens tend more towards being deep-red rednecks than themselves being "those long-haired pinko-hippie communists". The defense industry that wants to support them also tends towards more conservative than liberal, so IF the US broke out into civil unrest, the military would probably take the opportunity to crush its historical anti-war opponents at home.
No.

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Originally Posted by Solaris
No.
We do have some data from the recent Occupy movement to extrapolate from regarding police brutality towards peaceful protesters on the US domestic front. I don't think predicting an American Tiananmen Square incident is unreasonable.

I'm assuming a more "ethnic cleansing" (though political not racial) type situation where violence is against the people rather than the government they voted in. The type where a neighbor sets my house on fire, etc rather than attacking government facilities and holding terrain. My experience is limited to various articles and speculative fiction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
I suspect that the sort of American military personnel who would fire on American citizens tend more towards being deep-red rednecks than themselves being "those long-haired pinko-hippie communists". The defense industry that wants to support them also tends towards more conservative than liberal, so IF the US broke out into civil unrest, the military would probably take the opportunity to crush its historical anti-war opponents at home.

And if that sort of situation did arise, I wouldn't be at all surprised (very disappointed, yes, but not surprised) if it led to a Tianenmen Square kind of incident.
What if the revolutionary forces aren't liberals, but Tea Party-ish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
We do have some data from the recent Occupy movement to extrapolate from regarding police brutality towards peaceful protesters on the US domestic front. I don't think predicting an American Tiananmen Square incident is unreasonable.
To be fair, the military aren't the police. They're better trained, have more and more recent experience of insurrectionary forces, and may be less of the bully-from-high-school (though I'm not certain of that).

On the other hand, the police theoretically have a greater sense of attachment to a specific community.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
Judging by their reactions, I don't think you'd have to worry over-much about the military initiating combat against revolutionary citizenry. I can say with reasonable certainty that once the rebels start using live rounds, the military will prosecute hostilities to their inevitable conclusion.
Snipers or handfuls of lone gunmen, I can see. If your squad turned into a street with twenty armed American citizens, though, some of whom took a pot shot at you when they saw you, would you (meaning the guys you know, not necessarily Solaris) really fire RPGs and concentrated firearms into their mass over falling back and holding a tactical position?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Ben
I'm assuming a more "ethnic cleansing" (though political not racial) type situation where violence is against the people rather than the government they voted in. The type where a neighbor sets my house on fire, etc rather than attacking government facilities and holding terrain. My experience is limited to various articles and speculative fiction.
Historically civil discontent in the US tends to revolve around gathering places and official intervention into those gatherings -- for instance, in the Occupy movement, the news coverage circulated images of police officials spraying restrained protesters with pepper spray. I think it's much more reasonable to extrapolate from that kind of discontent than to assume that violence will arise first from a completely new type of discontent.

In other words, I think violence will arise from a new degree of unrest rather than a new kind of unrest.

Edit @ Atlicoatl:
Tea Partiers seem to be willing to work within the established system in order to effect change from within. They're not interested in throwing out the entire system, and that means they're not really interested in actual violence so much as they are in politics. At least that's my impression from my own reading of the news and a quick glance at Wikipedia; I could be way off base.

One of my geek friends who joined the military said the drill sergeant sounded exactly like the guy from Red Vs. Blue (I can't think of his name offhand). Police have been steadily militarizing for the last several decades in order to deal with exactly this kind of insurgence; certain police departments even have surplus or decommissioned military tanks. I'd suggest that should matters escalate the police will continue to adopt tried-and-true military insurgency suppression tactics for use against the locals on the home front.

If there is an incident, it is quite likely that the police will attempt to handle it themselves and screw up, getting people killed because they have military gear and inadequate training, rather than (or prior to) escalating it to the military.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
We do have some data from the recent Occupy movement to extrapolate from regarding police brutality towards peaceful protesters on the US domestic front. I don't think predicting an American Tiananmen Square incident is unreasonable.
Police are a joke. I teach the kids SWAT tactics so they know what not to do when engaged in urban warfare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Ben View Post
I'm assuming a more "ethnic cleansing" (though political not racial) type situation where violence is against the people rather than the government they voted in. The type where a neighbor sets my house on fire, etc rather than attacking government facilities and holding terrain. My experience is limited to various articles and speculative fiction.
This is, by and large, what the tail end of the Iraqi insurgency was about.

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Originally Posted by Atlictoatl View Post
What if the revolutionary forces aren't liberals, but Tea Party-ish?
This is not an entirely unreasonable assumption, though leftists aren't out of the question. There are some elements on the extreme right who are advocating rebellion, moreso than the collectivist left.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlictoatl View Post
Snipers or handfuls of lone gunmen, I can see. If your squad turned into a street with twenty armed American citizens, though, some of whom took a pot shot at you when they saw you, would you (meaning the guys you know, not necessarily Solaris) really fire RPGs and concentrated firearms into their mass over falling back and holding a tactical position?
Let me put it this way: We are frequently admonished to not make the news. That day, we would make the news and it would make Kent State look like a hippie love-fest. When they initiate hostilities, we have to prosecute lest they think they can get away with it. That's part of the war of the mind, instilling that dread fear of the uniformed forces in the irregular's mind.
It wouldn't involve RPGs, though. For one, they're big, bulky, and only really good against armored vehicles. For another, the rules of war include proportional response - we don't use the AT-4 when the M4 will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris
Police are a joke. I teach the kids SWAT tactics so they know what not to do when engaged in urban warfare.
If you take a police officer and give him an M4, you don't get a soldier, you get a police officer with way too much lethal force on his hands. Nobody expects police officers to take and hold military objectives, and giving them the wrong tools for the wrong job means they're going to botch it and get someone killed. Probably, that someone won't be a police officer. SWAT teams already kill several innocent civilians a year on botched operations and that number is only going to increase as police are further militarized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris
Let me put it this way: We are frequently admonished to not make the news. That day, we would make the news and it would make Kent State look like a hippie love-fest. When they initiate hostilities, we have to prosecute lest they think they can get away with it. That's part of the war of the mind, instilling that dread fear of the uniformed forces in the irregular's mind.
When that made news, I would bet the entire chain of command up to the President would be looking for scapegoats further down the line. It's entirely possible for that sort of strategy to win the battle and lose the war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
If you take a police officer and give him an M4, you don't get a soldier, you get a police officer with way too much lethal force on his hands. Nobody expects police officers to take and hold military objectives, and giving them the wrong tools for the wrong job means they're going to botch it and get someone killed. Probably, that someone won't be a police officer. SWAT teams already kill several innocent civilians a year on botched operations and that number is only going to increase as police are further militarized.
Yes. I object very strenuously to the militarization of police. It is neither necessary nor warranted, and I can't help but wonder how much of it is to set up agencies able to enforce martial law without the burden of the military (which has stronger ethical training and much more explicit laws regarding occupations - especially occupations of the homeland).

Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
When that made news, I would bet the entire chain of command up to the President would be looking for scapegoats further down the line. It's entirely possible for that sort of strategy to win the battle and lose the war.
Not necessarily. It's more likely that the mob would come out demonized, especially considering how often the media outlets toe the party line. Twenty people is not a large mob, and in that scenario they did fire first. Once the enemy initiates hostilities we are no longer bound to de-escalate the conflict by any means save similar. In short, once they shoot we shoot back.




 

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