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.