The FBI reports that in 2011, cops in America killed 404 suspects in acts of “justifiable homicide.” Astonishingly, though, as FiveThirtyEight reports, this number likely doesn’t include every civilian fatality that year since it relies on voluntary reporting and doesn’t include police homicides that aren’t justifiable. Still, 404 is a large number. By comparison, just six people were killed by police in Australia over the same period. Police in England and Wales killed only two people, and German police killed six. AP748818036139 AP/Charlie Riedel Gun control groups see the issue as an arms race between law enforcement and civilians. Last year, police in England did not record a single shooting fatality, with officers across the country only firing weapons on three occasions.
The destruction of the Iraqi Army is a case in point. After the 2003 invasion, the Anglo-American occupiers sought to weaken the Iraqi army and police, presumably in an effort to ward off challengers. The US overlord, Paul Bremer, dismantled the Iraqi army, while policing efforts were handed over to western security firms, bleeding dry an already devastated nation. Soon after, other western contractors such as DynCorp began rebuilding an Iraqi army that has recently proved to be a costly but ineffective tool against the rise of Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS). Today, wherever ISIS fighters seem to go, Iraqi army units disband and dissipate on their path; and their heavy weaponry, tanks and cannons taken by IS. The latter has by now captured territory in large parts of Iraq and Syria. In other words, and as Tom Engelhardt puts it, IS/ISIS are ‘George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s gift to the world’.
A resurrection engine
“Moss grows where nothing else can grow. It grows on bricks. It grows on tree bark and roofing slate. It grows in the Arctic Circle and in the balmiest tropics; it also grows on the fur of sloths, on the back of snails, on decaying human bones. Moss, Alma learned, is the first sign of botanic life to reappear on land that has been burned or otherwise stripped down to barenness. Moss has the temerity to begin luring the forest back to life. It is a resurrection engine. A single clump of mosses can lie dormant and dry for forty years at a stretch, and then vault back again into life with a mere soaking of water.”
— from The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert