The military isn’t going to beat freedom into you until you like it

The military isn’t going to beat freedom into you until you like it

I saw a quote from BSG tweeted earlier and it’s one that’s annoyed me for a while:

“There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people. ” – Commander William Adama.

In a police state, typically you have the military, the intelligence community, the police and a paramilitary or two all vying for power. The country is the battleground, and generally they all work together to run the government and are the power base of the country. The military becoming the police isn’t a police state as we know it. The police becoming like the military is.

After you have a coup, you generally don’t have the military beating up people that you’ve declared enemies of the state for very long because they’re not very good at it. They’re trained to fight wars, not patrol streets and determine who looks sufficiently committed to the regime.

You take some people and tell them they’re the protectors of the revolution (or the country, or the constitution or what have you). That they know what’s right and what’s wrong, and that they need to hunt those that would destroy the country from the inside. You then give them bats, possibly some guns, possibly some uniforms and let them loose on the public.

Guys in the military aren’t particularly good at hating their fellow citizens. It’s not why they sign up, and if they’re drafted it’s even less likely. Give a man a badge and tell him he’s the law, that’s a different story. You’ll get the sadists and the thugs. It’s when you harness them into a paramilitary, tell them that they’re doing good by torturing their fellow citizens that they really become dangerous.

Or when you take men trained to find spies (or recruit them) and let them loose on your citizens without oversight, then you have something that looks like a police state. The military may have hard liners, but they won’t be the ones fighting enemies within.

Hence, why expanding indefinite detention is a bad idea.