Perhaps the most jarring element in the lede to this Times story about the militarization of local police departments is the appearance of “silencers” on the list of equipment the federal government gives to police. Obviously, cops need silencers so they can fire their guns without people knowing about it. They need body armor so that combat in the streets poses little threat to them, automatic rifles so they can spray a bunch of bullets in a short period of time, and mine-resistant trucks so they can make music videos. And we need something to do with surplus military equipment since 9/11.
With the US at the top of its game and no other foreign entanglements to distract us, I can’t think of any reason not to bomb Syria. Assad used chemical weapons. That makes him an even worse bad guy, and the only thing that stops a bad guy with sarin is a good guy with laser-guided bombs. Unlike poison gas, bombs only destroy buildings and weapons. Bombs are pretty much the opposite of weapons, if you think about it long enough. Don’t think about it too long, though, because then you might ask a terrifying question: whom are we bombing for?
First of all, lest you misjudge how it feels to have psy-ops used on you, the p is silent. According to this article in an evidently self-impressed Rolling Stone, Lieutenant General William Caldwell ordered members of his Information Operations unit to use psychological manipulation techniques on senators and congressmen visiting Camp Eggers* in Kabul. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Holmes claims that Caldwell told his unit to gather background information on John McCain, Al Franken, Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin and other legislators, in order to use psy-ops tactics to convince them to devote more money and troops to the Afghan War. “How do we get these guys to give us more people?” Caldwell demanded. “What do I have to plant inside their heads?” As one might expect, the Army is prohibited from using propaganda and/or psychological warfare techniques on US citizens—much less members of Congress—and this shit is totally illegal. Also, it doesn’t take a military background check to figure out what will break John McCain’s psyche. Tiger cage: no; woman with nice jawline: yes.