Let's bring the United Nations into our inner cities

Posted: May 12, 2004 12:00 AM

 This week marks National Police Week. Presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry celebrated America's law enforcement officers by stating: "'In valor there is hope,' and in America because of our law enforcement officers, we have so much to be hopeful about. But every year, we are reminded of those who die serving their country at home. This year, we will honor and remember 362 who made the ultimate sacrifice -- 145 last year alone."
So here's my question: Doesn't Kerry think it's time to internationalize our inner cities? After all, our law enforcement officers are dying out there. We're attempting to bring freedom and democracy to a part of our country under false pretenses. How dare we focus any police efforts on ferreting bad guys out of criminal areas. They don't want us there!

 We're not winning any friends in the criminal areas, and we're certainly making ourselves unwelcome in the international community. The American death penalty violates international law, execution of minors violates international law, and treatment of prisoners in the U.S. incarceration system violates international law. France isn't happy with us!

 Goodness knows that the criminal street will rise up against the American government. Toppling drug kingpins and gang leaders isn't making anyone safer -- in fact, it might make us less safe. Every time we force police officers to invade high-crime areas, we risk inciting the criminal street.

 We all remember what happened during the Rodney King riots. John Kerry does, and he wants to remind us that the criminal class has legitimate concerns. Rap is its voice, and we must listen to it. "I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important ... I'm still listening because I know that it's a reflection of the street and it's a reflection of life, and I understand all that," Kerry told MTV.

 Of course, the major bone of contention here is our support for an educated populace in crime-ridden areas. It's imperialistic and fails to acknowledge the legitimate rights of criminals to self-determination and inhabitance of their home areas. Pushing the criminal element to achieve and holding them accountable for their own problems reveals a simplistic mind-set. Successful people in criminal areas are foreigners, intruders. We must definitely be more even-handed in our treatment of criminals and successful interlopers.

 Practically, this also means lowering standards in criminal areas. It's one thing to hold a middle-class person accountable for his actions, but we can't expect the same from someone in a different cultural context. John Kerry will fight for such a double standard.

 Our government, and this administration in particular, had a war plan but not a peace plan. It isn't enough to merely arrest and charge criminals -- we haven't won the war of hearts and minds. Rogue cops are a real issue, and the chain of command goes all the way to the top. Who hasn't seen pictures of racist police officers beating up criminals? Let's place the blame where it belongs: at the feet of President Bush. Where does the buck stop, Mr. President?

 With police officer after police officer going home in coffins (where are the pictures, by the way?), it's time for the president to admit that he planned his campaign against crime badly. It's easy enough to get into the criminal areas and knock heads together, but how will you build a new, more democratic system? We can't use role models from the outside -- that's insulting and imperialistic. And so the gangs keep fighting the police, attempting to protect their territory. Why didn't we plan ahead for this kind of resistance? We should have had more police officers. Maybe we should have held a draft.

 Our biggest mistake was not bringing in the international community on this. We have no coalition at all. France and Germany could have taught us about crime-fighting techniques. So could Switzerland and Canada. Even Sudan and Libya could have weighed in. All we had to do was ask, but this president and this administration are far too arrogant for that.

 Now, we have to live with the consequences. Our inner cities are becoming a homegrown Vietnam, a new quagmire. The United Nations must have a hand in this. Some nations that might lead the way are Colombia and Brazil, since they already have close contacts with criminal leaders in America. We can rejoin the international community and sacrifice our sovereignty.

 Let's get some international forces in there and bring our boys in blue back home.