Pentagon asks civilians to stop defending its unarmed soldiers



In a piece that looks like the headlines of the Onion, the Department of Defense has asked armed citizens to stop defending unarmed soldiers in recruiting stations. Many citizens volunteered to protect them following the latest attack by a radical Muslim at a Marine recruiting station.

Civilians — often heavily armed, sometimes dressed in camouflage combat fatigues, and overwhelmingly male...

I think we have hit on three characteristics most alarming to the writers at the New York Times.

...have volunteered to stand guard outside recruiting centers since the shooting July 16 at a military reserve center and a nearby recruiting center in Chattanooga.

The Defense Department on Friday asked armed civilians who have volunteered to guard military recruiting stations across the country in the wake of the mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn., to leave their posts.

Instead of thanking them for defending the troops, the Defense Department wants their own troops to again be sitting ducks.

The Pentagon said in a statement that it took the safety of its enlisted and civilian personnel “very seriously” and that Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was reviewing recommendations to improve security at all facilities, including recruiting stations.

Reviewing recommendations? Is this such a difficult problem to solve? And until it is "solved", with the obvious solution, the soldiers will be easy targets.

The presence of armed civilians, it said, might cause safety problems. “While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks,” Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, said.

Unintended security risks? And if the armed civilians leave, what about the intended security risks?

“We continue to partner with and rely on first responders for the safety of the communities where our service members live and work.”

Great. If a radical Muslim goes into a military recruiting office and starts executing people, call 911. Not very reassuring.

One of the ideas behind a civil society is that citizens can not only rely on other citizens not to violate them, but that citizens can actually rely on other citizens to help them in need. That's where the right to bear arms comes in. In a moral society the presence of other armed citizens is not an "unintended security risk", it's a source of strength and security, and a prime reason why we have the Second Amendment. It's a pity the Defense Department doesn't understand that.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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