15 February 2009

Counter-insurgency @ Home

I've heard that the Stimulus Bill includes $4 billion for "neighborhood stabilization, a program begun under the Bush Administration, and Community Development Block Grants, which were begun under the Ford Administration." A big rice bowl, to be doled out by some sort of competition, not handed over to organizations like ACORN. Neighborhood stabilization appears to be the buying and redevelopment of foreclosed properties, whild CDBGs are more flexible.

Neither involves the comprehensive provision of social services to neighborhoods that are otherwise being taken over by gangs, which I think of as domestic counter-insurgency funding. Because who you go to for physical and economic security is who controls the turf. And if the good folks abandon the turf then the bad guys take over. In the case of gangs, the bad guys are a loosely organized criminal insurgency. In some towns they outnumber the police. ACORN does provide some of these services, but not a complete set. We are leaving a gap which both trustworthy and untrustworthy organizations (gangs, "charities" with ties to terrorist organizations, etc.) can try to fill.

On the other hand, if we try to create a domestic "Peace Corps" to provide these services, we run the risk that the Corps could be politicized and abused to skew elections. This can be dealt with by reasonable oversight and checks and balances. But the possibility should not be ignored.

1 comment:

Shuttermecki said...

You're describing pretty well also why gangs in the Virginia DC 'burbs can have such good recruitment leverage- and it's more than just "They found me first."

If you are afraid of the police, it doesn't matter if the police really do want to help you out- you are not likely to call them when a roving gang of locals mugs you for the cash you just spent all day working for. When it comes down to it, it's not just "not helping" the security of our community and all of our neighbors in it, some of the current policies are downright undermining it.