Black Hawk Helicopter training in downtown Minneapolis

Last night the chickens we sent off to Iraq and Afghanistan to protect us here at home were flying around downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The Black Hawk helicopters are here on U.S. Army “urban training exercises” rattling the windows of startled residents’ condos, homes, and apartments right in Minnesota. The exercises of the Fort Campbell, KY special forces Night Hawks will continue through Thursday.

Why are they here? When and how did an American city of civilians become the training grounds for the United States Army? Why has there not been a louder outcry against the intrusion of the military into what we have now come to call “the Homeland”? It could be argued that their presence will make us safer, but citizen preoccupation with security is the ingredient essential to the recipe of a national security state.

Tonight the Night Hawks in the cockpits of their Black Hawk helicopters will fly among the high-rise homes of the Twin Cities again. It is no assurance that, according to the unit’s Fort Campbell commander, the same “urban training exercises” have taken place in San Diego, Phoenix, and other major cities and still littler comfort to those who value keeping a hard line against the intrusion of its military into civilian life.

How many eggs does a chicken have to lay before the American public understands that military adventures abroad – the “pre-emptive” wars that laid huge eggs abroad – have disastrous domestic consequences? What we sent off to Iraq and Afghanistan are now training in our own back yards. The message the Commander wants us to hear is that they are here to protect us, our best friends, as it were. “There are terrorists in every city,” he said.

Ferguson, Missouri and the Twin Cities of Minnesota are not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but they feel more and more like them every day.

The questions are moral and spiritual, just as they were when the Kerner Commission identified the drift toward two societies, one white, one black. Just as they were in Abu Graib. Just as they are now when the U.S. Army special forces unit is using our own cities as military training grounds…for what purpose?

How do we stop this before we’re all dead opossums? I wish I knew. So, I’m sure, does the President.

15 thoughts on “Black Hawk Helicopter training in downtown Minneapolis

  1. It was easier for me to avoid being depressed over life in the 60’s, when I had the hope and optimism that my activism could make some changes. And we did see change happen back then- especially in the area of civil rights. And now, it seems, many of those steps forward are being erased and we are sliding backwards. Anti-war protests, and still we have war. Supreme Court decapitating the voting rights act…and now it’s hard to remain optimistic in the face of it all. My only hope is that the universe, in its wisdom, is moving as it should and our miniscule life span on this teeny planet will end, or begin again, as the universe intends. The only time I feel good is when I go outside and look up.


    • Barb, I wish I didn’t gat this, but I do. Ever since Bill Stringfellow opened my eyes in 1968, I’ve been watching the police state unfold. I, like you, marched with Dr. King, marched to stop the War in Vietnam, sought a nuclear freeze, opposed the pre-emptive strike in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan as fool hearty, etc. etc. etc. I rejoiced in the election of Barack Obama, hoping that the tragic mistakes of the Bush Administration would finally be remedied. But the institutions Bill Stringfellow called “extra-Constitutional authorities and powers” are more entrenched than ever. Think (can’t remember her first name) Flame. Think Snowden. Think impossible. Impossible, or so it seems, to turn it around. Impossible because a sitting President would not survive long if he were to name the problem openly and seek to correct it. But, worse, the man we elected to change things is now the author of drone warfare, wire-taps of the phones of our allies, and either helpless or sold-out to the increasing occupation of the United States by corporate elites and the military-industrial-corporate-complex. I believe the President is a good man. I wouldn’t trade places with him (which should make you and every American citizen VERY happy!). But evil is always entangled in presumptions of goodness, and the President’s latest statements about American exceptionalism are deeply disturbing. He seems to believe it. I do not! I believe exceptionalism is the one and only sin! Whether the universe intends anything at all is a huge question that often keeps me awake at night, but I do still, like you, look up at night at the moon and the stars, and give thanks that there is anything at all!


    • Yes. The sense of lacking control. “What I do makes no difference.” The very essence of depression. The essence of the tendency to avoid the painful news. The essence of the method employed by despots to create acquiescence. Tough choices …


      • Mona, we’ve spoken a number of times of ‘cognitive dissonance’ but there is an even deeper dissonance that runs deeper than cognitive. It was interesting to listen in on an MPR program where the speaker referred to a rabbi’s description of the tension in the human soul between Adam One and Adam Two. Adam One is what I would say is the desire to climb higher, higher, while Adam Two is the self that wants to go DEEPER. The second is quieter, reflective, calmer. I feel like I’m in the stage when Adam Two is becoming dominant, but I can’t say that what I see makes me calmer.


  2. I read this just before going to bed last night! See my blog. I hate to say it, but I think a degree of avoidance of the truth is necessary to survival in this horribly crazy, pre-fascist state. How to find the balance between being appropriately informed, caring, and active, and staying above the depression line …

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      • Something like that – though the idea of military exercises in our cities just seems wrong – somehow. Just a feeling I have, that our military mind and police are getting more and more towards the mindset of “Them vs Us.”


        • Yes, Karin. Them vs. Us. It’s hard to describe. Until the institutionalization of a professional Army, it was ordinary citizens who comprised the American armed forces. That has changed for he worse. American special forces are the best in the world. Without question, I think. But at what cost? African Americans, especially low-income African Americans which is the majority, have understood this over centuries. We are newcomers to this understanding of occupation.


  3. And we think that guns and violence will solve all our problems. And we seem unable to notice that they are NOT solving our problems. And a grandmother shot and killed her grandchild because she thought someone was trying to break into her bedroom. I wish I would stop reading the news. But, I know that’s not the answer either.


    • Cynthia, I wish it weren’t so. We have become a violent society, a society entranced by the power of death, beguiled into absurdity and the abyss. Thanks for coming by. I wish it were otherwise, as do you. See you at MC October 3.


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