2010 February 12 Friday
Middle East Surge Applied To Salinas California

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

Bob Badour said at February 12, 2010 3:12 PM:

Does the surge plan include throwing mega-doses of money at the gangs?

Michael L said at February 13, 2010 1:03 PM:

first they have surged against Iraqis and I said nothing because I wasn't an Iraqi. Then they surged against Hispanics in California, and I said nothing because I was not Hispanic or in California. We all know how that ends...

rob said at February 13, 2010 4:07 PM:

So I should RTFA, but are they suggesting using the US military or the National Guard? I don't want politicians getting used to that kind of power. I also don't want Army officers accostomed to operations against US civilians. But y'know, we don't always get what we want.

Would a domestic counter-insurgency campaign against hispanics be enough of a wakeup call? Would most people finally start seeing them as not just like us? If California declares bankruptcy, and is under military occupation, would it still have Congressional representation? The last time the Army occupied and the feds ran a state was Reconstruction.

averros said at February 13, 2010 5:07 PM:

The much simpler solution - to permit concealed carry to all known law-abiding citizens, so they could defend themselves from the gangsta kids (and, hopefully, shoot some more of them), obviously, is beyond California politicos comprehension.

Truth said at February 13, 2010 6:12 PM:

Most hispanics are not real Americans anyway.

Randall Parker said at February 13, 2010 9:33 PM:

Michael L,

That is very funny.

rob said at February 17, 2010 6:46 PM:

no i don't,

Is English your primary language? Some of us like our "nameless" country. The difference between me and Nazis is that Nazis wanted to exterminate the Jews. I wish only the best for Mexicans. Because different people are different (you knew that right? Are Eskimos Kenyans?) they do better with different traditions and governments. Domestic CI is necessary to keep Mexicans from living in murderous chaos. Domestic CI is un_American, but without it Mexicans get killed: Mexicans will therefore do better in a country built for their needs.

Truth said at February 19, 2010 10:34 PM:

Calling someone a Nazi is not going to matter in the near future. Naziism will be common. The only question is whether you are going to be a foreign Nazi or an American Nazi.

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