Troy Senik has a piece in the City Journal which portends a sort of domestic dividend for America's wars in the Middle East. See his article: The Surge Comes to Salinas: A plan to apply counterinsurgency doctrine to gang violence.
I see many advantages to this idea. For example, it saves fuel. No need to fly soldiers half way around the world along with jet fighters, US Navy carrier groups, and bombers. A domestic counterinsurgency push would only need cars, helicopters, and occasionally a light armored vehicle for an assault on a hardened target.
Decades of crazy immigration policy have accidentally (unless this was planned) created conditions much closer to home where the US government can fight challenges to its own sovereign control rather than fighting on behalf of some Shia tribal leaders in Iraq or whatever factions we are backing in Afghanistan.
Communities beset by seemingly unbreakable cycles of violence; law enforcement overmatched to the point of essentially ceding sovereignty to an organized and heavily armed resistance; citizens so intimidated by thugs that they won’t report them to authorities, for fear of retribution. Eight years into the War on Terror, this scenario sounds familiar. But its location isn’t the Sunni Triangle in 2006 or southern Afghanistan today; it’s a farm town on California’s Central Coast.
California’s Central Coast also features a much milder climate than Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. Shouldn't we open our next front on terror in California rather than Persia?
Think of the training potential for US troops patrolling Salinas before shipping out to Helmand province. The transition will be a lot less jarring if Salinas serves as a sort of half-way house in reverse.
In Salinas—a predominantly Hispanic, blue-collar community best known for producing John Steinbeck—violence has spiraled out of control. With a population of under 150,000, the city’s homicide rate has rocketed to three times that of Los Angeles, largely the result of fighting between the rival Norteños and Sureños gangs. With murders at an all-time high in 2009 (29 as of late December), residents are understandably frightened. When the police go searching for answers in the aftermath of a gang killing, self-interest prevails. Citizens more confident in the gangs’ ability to retaliate than in the cops’ ability to protect them stay mum.
Finally a chance to get a domestic benefit from all the lessons learned at such a heavy price fighting in the Middle East.
Salinas’s mayor, Dennis Donohue, and his new police chief, Louis Fetherolf, want to reverse this vicious cycle. They think that they may have found a solution 7,500 miles to the east and 17 miles to the west. Those are the distances to Iraq, where General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy, generally known as “the surge,” saved a nearly failed state from implosion; and to the city of Monterey, where the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) hosts students and faculty eager to apply the surge’s lessons to Salinas. A team of NPS volunteers is combing through the city’s law enforcement data in granular detail. Once the work is complete, they plan to recommend ways that Salinas can apply counterinsurgency strategy to its pervasive violence.
Immigration enthusiasts should be excited by this proposal. If it works then we'll have a solution to the gang violence which Hispanic immigration has brought and immigration enthusiasts will be able to point to Salinas as a reason to open our southern border to anyone who wants to cross over, confident that the US military or a heavily militarized police can handle the consequences.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2010 February 12 02:06 PM Immigration Societal Decay|