What’s Good Enough for Fallujah Is Good Enough For DC

One of the strongest arguments against current COIN doctrine has been made by the anonymous blogger Fabius Maximus—namely, that if we are so great at engineering societies we can write a slim manual about it, why haven’t we done so in our inner cities? He points out today that we’re now trying exactly that.

Under an executive order expected to be announced today, police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will have the authority to designate “Neighborhood Safety Zones.” At least six officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them. Anyone who doesn’t live there, work there or have “legitimate reason” to be there will be sent away or face arrest, documents obtained by The Examiner show.

Lanier has been struggling to reverse D.C.’s spiraling crime rate but has been forced by public outcry to scale back several initiatives including her “All Hands on Deck” weekends and plans for warrantless, door-to-door searches for drugs and guns.

Under today’s proposal, the no-go zones will last up to 10 days, according to internal police documents. Front-line officers are already being signed up for training on running the blue curtains. Peter Nickles, the city’s interim attorney general, said the quarantine would have “a narrow focus.” “This is a very targeted program that has been used in other cities,” Nickles told The Examiner. “I’m not worried about the constitutionality of it.”

Others are. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. police union and a former lawyer, called the checkpoint proposal “breathtaking.” Shelley Broderick, president of the D.C.-area American Civil Liberties Union and the dean of the University of the District of Columbia’s law school, said the plan was “cockamamie.” “I think they tried this in Russia and it failed,” she said. “It’s just our experience in this city that we always end up targeting poor people and people of color, and we treat the kids coming home from choir practice the same as we treat those kids who are selling drugs.”

The proposal has the provisional support of D.C. Councilman Harry “Tommy” Thomas, D-Ward 5, whose ward has become a war zone. “They’re really going to crack down on what we believe to be a systemic problem with open-air drug markets,” Thomas told The Examiner. Thomas said, though, that he worried about D.C. “moving towards a police state.”

Yeah, I remember the propiska being one of those inhuman restrictions we used to call the USSR evil for imposing upon its citizens. The upshot of this is, at least police states usually have really low crime rates.

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One Response to “What’s Good Enough for Fallujah Is Good Enough For DC”

  1. on 05 Jun 2008 at 5:43 pm Don

    One advantage in Iraq is that Iraqis don’t vote in American elections, so politicians don’t have to ply them with welfare and food stamps.

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