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Italy defends move to patrol streets with soldiers

Posted 6 hours 19 minutes ago

 

The Italian government has defended its decision to use soldiers to patrol cities in an effort to curb crime, rejecting criticism that it will "militarise" the streets.

 

"There is a strong call from citizens for better control of the streets, for improved safety," Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa told Sky Italia television.

 

"My hope is that particularly in the evening, in the cities, these troops can ensure greater safety."

 

The government announced on Friday that up to 2,500 soldiers, some of whom have served in Afghanistan and Kosovo, would be made available for a trial period of six months to bolster the police in difficult urban areas.

 

Silvio Berlusconi's new conservative government won an April election on a law-and-order ticket, and crime and public safety have stayed on top of the political agenda since Mr Berlusconi took office.

 

The government's decision was attacked by the centre-left opposition, with Roberta Pinotti, defence spokesman for the Democratic party, expressing "firm opposition to the militarisation of the streets".

 

Italy's main trade unions said rather than using soldiers the government should make better use of 25,000 police who are doing desk work, and the mayor of Turin said the move was "populist demagoguery" that would hurt tourism and Italy's image abroad.

 

"I have only seen soldiers on the streets in Bogota, but there the situation is rather different," Sergio Chiamparino told La Repubblica daily.

 

Mr La Russa said he did not understand the criticism but specified that the use of soldiers would not be permanent, with the initial six-month period being renewable "just once."

 

"Very often just seeing a [soldier's] uniform can be sufficient as prevention. I don't see what the problem is," he said.

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Aside from the differrence in uniform, the 'civilian' police walking a beat in Italy are actually a branch of the military. It's also the military who fight the poachers in the mountains and forests of Italy and try to stem the tide of smugglers. My wife lived in Vicenza (near Venice) and taught me that bit of Italian reality. So, it doesn't bother me. Besides, the laws and the situation in Italy are not the same as here in the USA.

Edited by Aethelbert

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Aside from the differrence in uniform, the 'civilian' police walking a beat in Italy are actually a branch of the military. It's also the military who fight the poachers in the mountains and forests of Italy and try to stem the tide of smugglers. My wife lived in Vicenza (near Venice) and taught me that bit of Italian reality. So, it doesn't bother me. Besides, the laws and the situation in Italy are not the same as here in the USA.

 

 

Yes at this present time they are quite different.

And I hope they stay so.

But if these checkpoint type events like in DC keep occurring, how long will it be before the similarities, at least in the justifications, increase?

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Aside from the differrence in uniform, the 'civilian' police walking a beat in Italy are actually a branch of the military. It's also the military who fight the poachers in the mountains and forests of Italy and try to stem the tide of smugglers. My wife lived in Vicenza (near Venice) and taught me that bit of Italian reality. So, it doesn't bother me. Besides, the laws and the situation in Italy are not the same as here in the USA.

 

 

Yes at this present time they are quite different.

And I hope they stay so.

But if these checkpoint type events like in DC keep occurring, how long will it be before the similarities, at least in the justifications, increase?

 

Okay. I surrender. I wouldn't want to see it here in the USA. In Italy they have tradions dating back to the independence of their nation from Spain, Austro-Hungary, etc, which have governed just how the military kept the peace. Remembering, too, that they did not have a tradition of local police (IIRC). Our military does not have such a tradition. The one place, the one city in the US that had such experience would probably have been New Orleans during the occupation toward the end of the War Between the States. And that was marked by brutal behavior on the part of the troops with the extremely active encouragement of their commanding general.

 

With no background in civilian law enforcement, with the vast bulk of their training to do as we see them in videos from Iraq and Afganistan where such activity is necessary (it is, they are after all war zones), there is simply too much likelihood that they will behave as they have trained -- especially if things get dicey. Of course, they could help change the balance of things along the shared southern border where things sometimes see Mexican troops crossing our border with full auto weapons and where, at one point, forced the AZ Nat'l Guard to give up an observation post (the NG had but ordered to not return fire) but in the bulk of the US? Our police are already being militarized more than I, personally, have any desire to see. Hmm. If the police become much more militarized with every little burg and 'Holler' having their own black-uniformed SWAT armed with auto weapons and .50 BMG (when's the last time anyone used an APC to rob a convenience store?) then we might be better off having under military command...

 

Bear in mind, please, that anything said about our men and women in uniform are not meant to take away from them or from what they are doing to preserve our nation's freedom and security. As a 15-year veteran (mostly 3d AR BDE/3D AR DIV/ 1/36 Inf Regmt and proud of it and the men and women with whom I served), I believe in them.

 

End of rant

Edited by Aethelbert

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Anybody who's been to Italy would know that having military on the streets would only mean guys in different uniforms. My family has a house in southern Italy and I've spent countless summers there. The first time I went there it was a bit of a culture shock seeing police all wearing what looks like dress uniforms and carrying SBR submachine guns. That's just the way it is. Me and my family have never had a problem walking right past them with shot guns slung over our shoulders walking up to the mountains to hunt for rabbits or birds either. I think it's more about intimidation than anything else.

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i would prefer to not set the precedent fo our army becoming the police.

 

I'm actually much more in favor of arming the shit out of our police......i think those gang punks would settle down about the time a police hummer pulled up with a 50 cal on top and 3 guys with SAWs hopping out the sides......

 

but then.....i just have no tolerance for that gang BS.....and really have little to no problem with the cops shooting the hell out of any group of people that is stupid enough to take a shot at them ...as they enforce the law (that little qualifier on there is important to me).

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i would prefer to not set the precedent fo our army becoming the police.

 

I'm actually much more in favor of arming the shit out of our police......i think those gang punks would settle down about the time a police hummer pulled up with a 50 cal on top and 3 guys with SAWs hopping out the sides......

 

but then.....i just have no tolerance for that gang BS.....and really have little to no problem with the cops shooting the hell out of any group of people that is stupid enough to take a shot at them ...as they enforce the law (that little qualifier on there is important to me).

 

 

Well said.

 

The only caution I would put on that is if we do heavily arm law enforcement then be very careful how you rewrite laws!

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