Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police

kohenari:

Senator Rand Paul published a very good piece for Time earlier today. Here’s just one short snippet:

Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.

Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

A fair number of people have been wishing for strong words like these from President Obama and were downright dejected by the seeming blandness of his statement earlier this afternoon.

But considering the histrionics from conservatives every time Obama says anything about race, I really didn’t expect anything like the sort of statement he made in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

It’ll be interesting to see if those same conservatives say anything at all about Paul’s comments since they usually seem so certain that racism is well and truly behind us and that it’s Obama and liberals who keep “playing the race card.”

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
Representatives for two rebel groups in Mali agreed to end hostilities and join together for peace talks with the government next month.
Riek Machar’s rebel group in South Sudan have rejected a power-sharing deal.
Vice reports on weapons moving into South Sudan.
17 were killed in in-fighting among factions of the Seleka rebel group in the Central African Republic.
Abdullah al-Thinni has resigned as Libya’s prime minister in an attempt to end a power struggle. 
Egypt and the UAE have secretly carried out airstrikes in Libya.
An indefinite ceasefire was brokered between Israel and Gaza.
Scenes from on the ground in Gaza and Israel — captured by photographers Paolo Pellegrin and Peter van Agtmael.
The UN says that 3 million people have fled Syria in the current conflict, and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced.
American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who has published under the name Theo Padnos, was released from captivity in Syria this week. He was held by the Nusra Front.
His release was secured with the help of Qatar, who are continuing to try to negotiate the release of other Western hostages — one of whom is now known to be an American aid worker held by ISIS.
Steve Coll on the kidnapping of journalists.
ISIS captives, including James Foley, were waterboarded.
Evan Hill remembers his correspondence with Foley.
The mother of captive journalist Steven Sotloff has released a video plea to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for her son’s freedom.
Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt report on ISIS’s management and organizational structure.
One piece of reporting indicates that there is support among non-extremist rebels in Syria for US action against ISIS, saying that ISIS has “ravaged” Syria and hijacked their revolution.
Public beheadings have become a “common spectacle" in Syria, according to the UN.
Two journalists acquired an ISIS laptop — full of “how-tos” for weaponizing the bubonic plague, among other things.
A 33-year-old US citizen — Douglas McCain — was killed fighting for ISIS in Syria. US intelligence has reportedly identified almost a dozen Americans who have similarly traveled abroad to join ISIS.
43 UN peacekeepers are being held by an armed group in Syrian Golan Heights.
Mapping ISIS’ development and expansion in Syria and Iraq.
In Iraq, ISIS is accused of ethnic cleansing in a prison massacre in Mosul where 670 Shia prisoners were reportedly killed.
US airstrikes in Iraq, day by day.
Armed Yemeni rebels staged sit ins this week outside the capital city, Sanaa, protesting the government.
An ongoing, bloody Taliban offensive in southern Afghanistan has killed as many as 900 in some of the “worst fighting” in years.
Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election is costing the country ‘s economy $5bn. 
PM Sharif has been named by Pakistani police as a murder suspect in the deaths of 14 protesters near Lahore in June.
Thousands of Pakistani demonstrators, lead by Tahir ul-Qadri and Imran Khan, have camped out in front of parliament in Islamabad since mid-August demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down. Pakistan’s army chief has now been named mediator in the crisis.
Russia has opened up a new offensive in Ukraine and NATO has accused Russia of “blatant violation" of Ukrainian sovereignty.
Ukrainian soldiers coming out of Novoazovsk say they were “cannon fodder" for Russian tanks.
Ukraine’s prime minister announced the country’s renewed intentions to join NATO.
In photos: what remains of Donetsk.
The debate over Russia’s invasion/incursion plays out, of course, on Twitter.
Obama announced executive actions to benefit veterans, soldiers and military families.
The prosecution rests in the Blackwater trial.
Photo: Donetsk, Ukraine. A damaged and bloody kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

Photo: Donetsk, Ukraine. A damaged and bloody kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA.