Veterans Group Opposes Combat Brigade's Permanent US Assignment

For Immediate Release

Veterans For Peace
Contact: 

Michael McPhearson, 314-303-8874
Elliott Adams, 518-441-2697

Veterans Group Opposes Combat Brigade's Permanent US Assignment

"It is a sad day for America when government prepares to protect itself by using the military on its own citizens."

WASHINGTON - A national
veterans' organization sent a letter to the House and Senate leadership
today expressing "grave concern" that an active duty combat brigade has
been permanently assigned to a post on U.S. soil.

Citing
a little-noticed article posted September 30 on the Army Times website,
Veterans For Peace said the Pentagon's unprecedented move assigned the
3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team to NorthCom, a joint
command established in 2002, for a 12-month assignment.

The Army Times article stated the brigade may be called upon to help with "civil unrest and crowd control."

"Just
who are these unruly crowds and dangerous individuals this unit will be
using its 'nonlethal' weapons on...American citizens?" asked Michael
McPhearson, VFP Executive Director.  "After the
overwhelming display of police force I witnessed at the Republican
National Convention in St. Paul, this news is extremely disturbing.  It is a sad day for America when our government is preparing to protect itself by using the military on its own citizens."

McPhearson
added, "Make no doubt about it, these so-called 'non-lethal' weapons
will kill and injure people when used on crowds."  Here are just a few examples of what is available.

  • Raytheon
    Corp.'s Active Denial System, designed for crowd control in combat
    zones, uses an energy beam to induce an intolerable heating sensation,
    like a hot iron placed on the skin. It is effective in excess of 400 meters, beyond the range of small arms.. Company
    officials have been advised they could expand the market by selling a
    smaller, tripod-mounted version for police forces.
  • The
    FN 303, from FN Herstal Corp., fires a .68 caliber plastic shell filled
    with Oleoresin Capsicum (red pepper) with "inflammatory properties that
    force the eyes to shut, while causing an intense stinging sensation to
    the skin, throat, and nose. The result is total in capacitance lasting
    for up to 45 minutes." Range, 50 meters.
  • M5
    Modular Crowd Control Munition "is similar in operation to a claymore
    mine, but it delivers...a strong, non-penetrating blow to the body with
    multiple sub-munitions (600 rubber balls)." Range, 30 meters.
  • Long Range
    Acoustic Device can emit sound "50 times greater than the human
    threshold for pain" at close range, causing permanent hearing damage.
    Range, 500 meters.

VFP President, Elliott Adams, concluded, "We consider this very dangerous.  Policing citizens must be left to the police.  Once we begin to bring soldiers into the picture the dynamic changes.  The troops in Iraq found themselves between a rock and a hard place tying to police Baghdad.  They did not have the skills to do police work.  They know how to use overwhelming force as opposed to adequate force.  We
must also ask how this mission infringes on Posse Comitatus and the
Insurrection Acts that limit the powers of the federal government to
use the military for law enforcement.  VFP will further
investigate this and join with others to ensure the powers of the
federal government are kept within appropriate limits."

 

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Founded in 1985, Veterans For Peace is a national organization of men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations spanning the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts cold or hot. It has chapters in nearly every state in the union and is headquartered in St. Louis, MO. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary. Veterans For Peace is an official Non- Governmental Organization (NGO) represented at the U.N.

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