Tuesday Evening Think Piece:
"The Housekeeping Boys"
Violence in America increases after every war we fight. Returning soldiers who existed for months, and in most cases years, on war and killing are not so easily defused when they return... nor are the basket-case immigrants we take in from countries at war long before we got involved.
Lawlessness in cities and on the range skyrocketed after the Civil War. Not only were well known gangmembers and their leaders like the James and Dalton brothers war veterans and a plague, but thousands of lesser or little known local celebrities victimized vast territories. Immediately after the return of troops following WW1 we saw a marked increase in organized (and disorganized) crime, as well as the heavy arming of gangs and thugs. The FBI experienced its greatest growth as a post-WW1 anti-crime/violence agency. Following WW2 and Korea America saw the growth of youth-dominated street gangs and lawlessness... West Side Storyland zip guns and knives being the toys of choice for school boys. Shortly after the return of inner city black kids from Vietnam in the middle 1960's the 'drive-by shootings' originated by Al Capone in the 1920's was reinvented... and slowly moved westward along with the 'deported' hooligans kicked out of NY, Detroit and Chicago who made their way to the big cities on the Pacific Coast. Although it was the weapons training of returning soldiers during the early years of the Vietnam War that caused the most annoyance to law enforcement as street gangs grew more violent and deadly, it was the violence associated with drugs that accompanied Vietnam soldiers nearer the end of the war. And just as FBI was enhanced by Executive Order to deal with the new, violent aspect of post-WW1 crime, DEA was born out of BNDD by way of XO at the end of the Vietnam War to deal with the increasingly deadly conversion of the drug culture dominated by the 'Love-In' Peace Movement now in the hands of really sinister, bad boys.
Just the opposite phenomenon of the Vietnam War happened to Gulf War vets. Vietnam vets who went to 'Nam alone came back to join gangs like the Crips, KKK or DEA. But Gulf War vets who went to war with their units opted for being alone when they came home. Go figger. The end of the Gulf War ushered in the loner who went "postal". Individual disenchantment and disillusionment, increased poverty, wide division between the have's and have not's produced a wave of psycho killers weaned on the real and dramaticized violence that comes when hugely destructive war raises the societal threshold for tolerating or accepting a bloodier world as Standard Operating Procedure. And while the loners were doing their thing, street gangs and organized crime became deadlier and better equipped, some of their training coming directly from recent military veterans with a post-war axe to grind... as usual.
Should American soldiers feel the need to kill large numbers of Iraqis to save them from living under their leader (Saddam Hussein is ex-CIA; his personal boss was former CIA Director and former president George H. W. Bush) we Americans are supposed to hate, these soldiers will bring back home to America, as their fathers before them and their grandfathers before them, an increased level of violence and crime. We have misled ourselves into thinking that we were never changed by the wars abroad. Yet, after every war American society becomes increasingly predacious, violent and criminal.
Since it appears that another war has already been decided by Junior Bush, with us finding out about the invasion date only after it has begun, we must ready ourselves and DEA for the post-war period after the parades and celebrations have ended. Parades and celebrations have never undone months or years of conditioning people to war. Raising the human threshold for blood, like taxes, rarely goes down. Crime and violence in America has never gone down since our continued need for a new war every generation since the Civil War. Unfortunately, the proper level and type of law enforcement needed to deal with each post-war period has also never been sufficient to stem the increase in violence and crime, let alone reduce it. Because as law enforcement becomes accustomed to operating in a bloodier world our activities to reverse the trend becomes less desirable. We've long been past the point where any of us even considers eliminating crime and violence. We've well moved into the phase where it's all daily taken for granted. Now we're now seeing in the faces of newer and younger LE's a somewhat sadistic anxiousness to doing battle on the street... and in some cases provoking hostility.
It is estimated that almost 1.5 million American servicepeople will be involved in Iraq, and that battle may be the bloodiest we've seen since Vietnam. Countless millions more will watch death and destruction on TV... and of course, long after the war is over we will need a few dozen movies to feed our citizens craving to watch others kill and be killed... in slow motion. More and more drugs will be needed by some to cut themselves off from the world, others will use the same drugs to heighten their awareness and thirst for pushing the envelope further.
It will be our job to deal with it all. Our war begins after the military war ends. We're the clean-up crew... the housekeeping boys who run to shut the barn door after the animals have fled.
Other reports are Archived by The American War Library