Updated: Nov 8, 2020

Not trained, not equipped, and heading for disaster

In 1989 my father, a regional court magistrate, a man with a brilliant legal mind, said to me that the rioters were more afraid of the army than the police (where I was serving). Being young and stupid, I saw this as a mortal insult. We liked being feared and we were feared but not always for the wrong reasons. It made me think though. My father was not a man that said anything without reason. He was telling me something.

I realized something that startled many. The South African Police Force reduced, yes reduced, the riot units’ (combating worse riots than what the US ever had or will have), ability to kill. In my autobiography, Mean Streets – Life in the Apartheid Police, I contrasted a riot unit section of ten men against that of a COIN (Counterinsurgency) section. The riot unit had 2 men armed with 37 mm Stoppers shooting only teargas and baton rounds, non-lethal by design. The rest, 6 men would have had pump-action shotguns with bird-shot – non-lethal by design. The remaining two had R1 rifles, known in the UK as the SLR, a 7.62 NATO FN copy & improvement which were almost never used. All would have had their personal sidearms, a Z88 (same as the US M9), or an ancient if rebuilt P-38 Walther. Years before, decades before my time, they would have had Sten sub-machine guns and the .303 SMLE from the Second World War. Right, now the COIN units (at this stage) were fighting as soldiers, superb light infantry, and highly mechanized units. Each section had their personal sidearms, then a rifle, the R1 (sometimes with grenade launchers), a MAG light machine gun, a Patmore mortar (sometimes), hand grenades, phosphorous grenades, access to lethal air support.

What is the difference?

The riot units could not kill easily (which is not to say that no deaths took place). The COIN units could ONLY kill. There is no such thing as shooting to wound. When you shoot you always aim to kill. “The least witnesses left alive to lie in court about police abuse, the better for you,” that was the thinking. So my father saw this aspect in his courts. He realized that the army units were feared because they were deadly by design unless of course equipped for riot control. It is a specialist skill for which specialist training and weapons and techniques are required.

So when people shout that they want the obese National Guard deployed I must warn, what use will these men and women be with their M4s? I read statistics that in Vietnam the US Army fired 250,000 rounds for every kill obtained (never mind if the kill was an actual VC or not). With modern optics, in Afghanistan and Iraq, well, 500,000 rounds for every dead. Thus, panic shooting and the killing of civilians are the norm for the low standards US Military. They are so bad, so easy to spook that I would not want them near me including their Special Forces, known for failure and not much else. Harsh words? Yes, very harsh and no doubt offensive to many. But read my friend George M James’s books at, fictionalized, and non-fiction, and wake up to the reality outside the US. That is what we see and what is proven time after time.

The alternative is to disarm the National Guard and deploy them to do f what? What will they do when without the means to defend themselves? Do they need to die also? This is silly in the extreme. It is also sad that the Israelis, and I have huge respect when they are in their own theater, nowhere else, are blamed for “training and militarizing the US Sheriff Departments.” You know what, I wrote in 2016 that not one SWAT Team is truly Special Forces rated in the US. I also said that they are overused, wrongly used, and in general cannot cope with serious terrorism (Terrorist Takedown). It is not a bad thing to increase standards even with Israeli help. Why not? Leave the Jews alone, it is unwarranted to blame them for the debacles what are happening across the US right now. Mark my words, more will die before this is over, sad to say. But a mass deploying of the low standards US Military, National Guard included, will worsen the death toll. It is the wrong tactic. This is a police issue combined with political interference.

Don’t deploy troops to do police work. Dictators do that.

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