Bring the No-Fly Zone Home to Arizona

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The Nation

Bring the No-Fly Zone Home to Arizona

Could Obama and his supporters take a break from celebrating so-called no-fly zones—and take a look at what's happening in Arizona?

Gaddafi, after all, isn't the only one using military technology against his own people. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, has launched “Operation Desert Sky” to round up “illegal drugs and human cargo”—read: men, women, human, immigrants.

If that name sounds familiar, perhaps you're remembering Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq under the first President Bush. That's right, the sheriff of a US county is deliberately evoking the names of military operations in his war on migrants.

Thirty aircraft will be used in the operation, and, according to the Cypress Times, will be furnished and flown largely by the sheriff's armed volunteer posse—in other words, vigilantes. They'll be armed with M-16s and a .50 caliber machine gun.
Isn't it time for a no-fly zone in Arizona? The state senate failed to pass Russell Pearce's anti-immigrant bills, but Arpaio, who just recently performed a tank raid on suspected cockfighters for A&E’s TV cameras and Steven Seagal, is clearly escalating.

Former GRITtv guest Salvador Reza, an Arizona immigration activist, says it's unconscionable for Obama and the Justice Department to be part of Arpaio's coalition of the willing. But beyond that, isn't it time for us to put a stop to Arpaio's violence once and for all?

I mean, even progressives are arguing that intervention in Libya was justified on humanitarian grounds. How big a humanitarian disaster must we see on our own soil before we act?

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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