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February 21, 2009

It's Not April 19th.... Yet.

Once again, Iowa is leading the nation. No, this time we're not nominating inexperienced Marxists or smooth talking populists as the nominees of the two main political parties. And this isn't a post about Iowa's pork (the delicious kind you eat, not the expensive kind your grandkids have to pay for) production, which still leads the nation.

No, dear friends; we're talking about the first step in the UN's gradual takeover of the Sovereign US of A. We're talking black helicopters, the mark of the beast, fiat currency and door-to-door gun confiscation all rolled into one!

Well, at least that's what the Konspiracy Kids think:

Here's the original article, found in the Carroll, Iowa local paper from a few days ago. In keeping with Standard AceCorp policy of "no links to crazies", I'm simply linking to a google search for "Iowa National Guard Arcadia" and letting you pick and choose which of the secondary analyses you want to go to. Since Alex Jones and his "Feces-Smearing Crazy Wacky Morning Zoo Radio Show" are among the sites covering this story, you can imagine the level of rhetoric currently being used across the intarwebthingy.

A quick summary of the story: An Iowa National Guard unit from Carroll, Iowa anticipates deployment to Afghanistan in the near future, so they arranged for some more realistic training regarding interaction with civilian populations. As the article from the Carroll paper (dated February 17) states, the unit wants to stage an operation in the small town of Arcadia (population approximately 450), located approximately 10 to 15 miles West of Carroll. If you're asking yourself "Where the frak is Carroll, Iowa?", the best explanation I can give you is to go about halfway down Interstate 80 from Des Moines to Omaha, Nebraska and then go about 50 miles North.

The proposed training in Arcadia will consist of the guard unit traveling from Carroll to Arcadia in a convoy, and then cordoning off the town to search for a fictional "arms dealer". They are currently asking for volunteers from the local population to work with them on this exercise, because all interaction between the guard and civilians will be with willing volunteers. Guard troops will go door to door showing a picture of the fictional "arms dealer", and residents who agree to allow the guard to search their homes will help serve as training partners for the guard troops. The original article states that the Guard members will NOT search the house themselves, but simply observe as the residents open doors and cabinets for them.

OK, I'm a big believer in Second Amendment rights, AND I believe in the Fourth Amendment right to a secure residence as well; HOWEVER I don't really see how this is the start of The Big Power Grab. Seems to me that a National Guard unit that's going over to Afghanistan to look for arms caches and bad guys hiding in a civilian population just MIGHT want to have some training in that particular activity before they leave the lower 48. Does thinking that way make me a "sheeple"? Maybe, but asking people to volunteer to help a guard unit train to conduct searches in Afghanistan is a far cry from doing those searches on American soil. I believe in slippery slopes, but I also believe that a significant portion of our population is willing to "cry wolf" at every slight, even those that are imagined. To me, it's not too far from believing that this is a prelude to martial law in America to the belief that "fire cannot melt steel". Sadly, "Trutherism" ain't just confined to the left end of the political spectrum.

Some of the conspiracy wackos point out that the military maintains "ghost towns" in the West and Southwest where units can train for this type of activity, but that's missing the point. The unit isn't practicing HOW to do a search, they're practicing how to interact with the people who are being searched. Interpersonal skills weren't important back in 2001 when we were kicking ass & taking names, but now that the war's well shifted from "taking ground" to "ferreting out jihadis", these skills are sorely needed. And where else is better to get these skills than within your own community? If the Carroll National Guard unit treats all the Afghans they interact with as politely as they're going to treat the residents of Arcadia, then they'll get more cooperation. More cooperation means more bad guys & their stuff you capture, which means less casualties among the good guys.

Here's what I want to know: Is the voluntary participation in a valid training exercise by civilians a violation of YOUR Constitutional rights? I call it a "valid" training exercise because it's training for an activity that the unit will surely find themselves doing once they deploy. It's not like this unit is planning on deploying to Afghanistan to build roads or fill potholes - they're going to be asked to chase down Johnny Jihad & this is directly related to that mission. If the exercise was being done with unwilling participants, then it would set off my "bullshit detector", but keeping it strictly among volunteers makes it harmless in my book. The only way I see this as harmless is if I believe that the Iowa National Guard wants to subjugate me and turn me into a serf.

Folks, I just ain't willing to make that leap right now. If I truly believed that, I'd be justified - HELL, probably even OBLIGATED to shooting a few National Guardsmen to preempt their training for a power grab......and I'm not down with that. Not at all. I'm willing to stand up to tyranny to protect my rights, but I'm not going to go berzerk because there might be a chance that maybe someone might violate my rights sometime in the future. We're still living in a time where political and social means should be used to advance our cause. There's being "willing", and then there's longing for something with all your heart, and it's not time to go past "willing" yet.

UPDATE: while I was writing this, I heard on the radio that the Iowa National Guard is scaling back this exercise due to bad press. That's too bad. This training might help keep some of our troops from coming home through the big military hospital in Germany, or God forbid, from coming home with a flag over their coffin.

(The reference in the title? More on that here. This is a great organization, and if you're a "firearms" person, you should attend one of their Appleseed Events. It's a great time & you'll learn plenty, and you don't even need to believe that the government is conspiring against us to hang out with these people. They don't bite, and the people I met at one of their events in Illinois were top notch.)

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 03:33 PM

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