Crimes of Distance Are Not Crimes

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Through the efforts of a court-martial and an FBI sting operation, the integrity of the U.S. Air Force will be preserved when a Davis-Monthan NCO is dishonorably discharged, forfeits his retirement pay and benefits, and spends up to eight years in prison for his crime. What did he do? The airman in question transported cocaine between Tucson and Phoenix while in battle dress uniform (camouflage).

As reported in the Arizona Daily Star, prosecutors said the airman 'was a disgrace to the Air Force.' Captain Joseph Kubler was quoted as saying, 'When he used his uniform to transport drugs, he abused the trust that uniform evokes.'

What happened to this airman is truly unfortunate, because the military knows the stupidity and irrationality of Americans can be counted on to embrace its actions against this individual and others like him with enthusiasm. What the Uniform Code of Military Justice says about the crime of drug-trafficking is irrelevant. Drugs are bad, and people who use them, sell them, or transport them are bad and should be punished. If there was not some infraction defined in the code to get this guy, the military could have made one up, because Americans are that conditioned to react predictably to anything having to do with drugs.

A defendant claiming that he was only transporting the drugs to supplement his low military pay would have received no mercy, either. The response from the court of public opinion might be, 'You sanctimonious, money-grubbing bastard. You wear that uniform not for money, but for honor and the privilege of guaranteeing the freedom of millions of your fellow Americans. Because of the men and women who wear and have worn that uniform, all Americans have free speech, fair trials, protections from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to worship at the Christian church of their choosing. People like you tarnish the reputation of the true heroes who serve their country selflessly and honorably.'

Maybe this airman's greatest mistake was to commit such a crime here on American soil. Had he been wearing civilian clothes while working part-time as a drug trafficker, it is doubtful that his ultimate penalty would have been that much different. Perhaps he would have received less jail time.

Recent revelations about military operations overseas teach us that, had he engaged in drug trafficking overseas, the level of tolerance accorded him by the military and the head-up-the-ass American public would have been virtually limitless. Certainly, in comparison to other crimes attributable to American military personnel serving overseas, especially in designated 'war zones,' drug trafficking is trivial.

Disturbing the peace, destruction of private property, breaking and entering, kidnapping, assault, rape, and murder (so long as it can be covered up) by American military personnel are all tolerated by the American people so long as the deluded masses believe these criminal acts are legitimate acts of self-defense, in the immediate case of the soldiers on the ground and ultimately, as a response to 911. You remember, it's all part of that, 'Hey, they started this fight and we're gonna finish it,' 'Git them thar so's they cain't git us here,' rah-rah bullshit.

American soldiers performing their daily duties in a war zone unavoidably commit what we would call heinous crimes back home, but also disrupt life in ways that we would never tolerate (except for those flag-waving patriot types who, under no circumstances, would never question the oppressive state they love so much while it was 'at war').

Besides leading to the occasional murder of innocent civilians, U.S. military checkpoints throughout Iraq limit movement and stifle commerce. Women are regularly assaulted by strange men who know nothing of, and care even less for, local cultural taboos. It's for the safety of the good Iraqis, the authorities say, and only stupid Americans accept that reasoning. Checkpoints manned by heavily armed American soldiers give them a free pass to commit crimes while enforcing the growing police state in Iraq controlled by the U.S. government.

The news informs the occupants of every major city in America that armed gangs fight each other for turf and control of the local drug trade, fight the police, and assault and kill innocent people who witness, or just get in the way of, their illegal activities. The local police typically know the areas controlled by the various gangs and their criminal specialties. Often, the police play gangs off against each other to reduce gang activity. Yet, to accomplish this, Americans are not begging local law enforcement to do to their cities what the American military regularly does to Iraqi cities when gangs of 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' are believed to be holed up there: quarantine and raze to the ground.

If the mayor of LA declared that, due to a dramatic increase in the level of gang activity, he was ordering the quarantine of specific areas of the city in anticipation of forceful action by his increasingly militarized police force to rid the city of these criminals elements, decent people of all political stripes would rise up at such an unlawful proposal. In the absence of a complete police state--as yet unachieved, Americans would never tolerate the mass destruction and murder here that they have tolerated in Iraq .

When the government-controlled media dutifully reports that x-number of insurgents were killed, the American public swallows the information as factual. Any news reports to the contrary that attempt to reveal pictures and accounts of destruction and civilian casualties are labeled by the military masterminds as 'asymmetrical warfare' being waged against our forces and are subsequently squashed. Activities cannot be labeled criminal if there is no evidence to prove them criminal.

When that next big terrorist attack is staged here on American soil, the domestic criminal activity by the U.S. military that is rained down on the American people--to enforce security and make us safer--it will be too late for the American people to do anything to stop the daily violations of their rights as citizens and as human beings. By that time, they will have long sanctified all the actions of the greatest criminal organization to ever curse the earth. And they were once worried about getting a drug-trafficking airman off the streets.

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Harry Goslin's picture
Columns on STR: 40

Harry Goslin lives in eastern Arizona.