The federal government and the Obama administration are under fire for a variety of unconstitutional programs aimed at both militarizing and controlling local police and law enforcement, including supplying a vast array of sophisticated U.S. Defense Department “weapons of war” to city and county governments. Billions of dollars in military equipment has already been handed to municipal police departments and county sheriffs’ offices nationwide under the rapidly expanding federal schemes, but concerns from across the political spectrum are growing quickly as well.
This year alone, over 150 so-called “mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles,” or MRAPs, used by U.S. forces in Iraq, were distributed by the administration to local police departments within the “Homeland.” The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, has been at the center of mounting controversy for over a year as it stockpiled the beastly military vehicles and massive quantities of ammunition for domestic use. At the same time, federal efforts to unconstitutionally commandeer state and local law enforcement are accelerating.
Criticism of the controversial and growing law-enforcement militarization schemes, however, is also escalating across the political spectrum. One of the biggest concerns expressed by opponents is the threat to the independence and local accountability of police represented by unconstitutional federal handouts — most of which come with “strings” attached. Critics have also blasted what they say is the increased potential for unnecessary escalation of violence, the growing presence of “weapons of war” aimed at Americans on U.S. streets, and the huge costs to already-struggling taxpayers drowning in debts incurred by Washington, D.C. politicians.
However, amid mounting outrage and concerns over what more than two thirds of U.S. voters say is an “out-of-control” federal government that is “threatening basic civil liberties,” the administration is stepping up its showering of military equipment on local law enforcement officials. Even the establishment press is now reporting on the growing controversies — especially after the distribution of some 165, so far this year, 18-ton armored personnel carriers with gun turrets originally built for U.S. troops on Middle East battlefields. Another 731 have been requested, according to news reports.
Of course, the federal programs distributing “surplus” military equipment to local law enforcement are not new. In fact, they go back decades. However, as The New American reported in 2011, the schemes are expanding at a record pace under the Obama administration. Ironically, perhaps, the federal flood of military hardware comes amid the executive branch’s fiendish assaults on the unalienable right of the people to keep and bear arms — often marketed by the current administration with claims that “weapons of war” do not belong on the streets of the “Homeland.”
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Photo of Warren County, N.Y., Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree in front of the department's MRAP: AP Images