That two Chicago lawmakers have asked Gov. Pat Quinn to activate the Illinois National Guard to stem violence in the city is making national and international news.
Some officials are appalled at the idea of military troops doing police work, saying that they're not trained for it. Mayor Richard M. Daley reacted "cooly," the Tribune reports, throwing up the usual verbiage about you have to "look at long-term solutions." Which pretty much ends the idea, because Quinn said he won't call out the Guard unless requested to do so by Daley.
The idea is tainted by the same suggestion made by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and I seem to recall that I had written a column suggesting the same thing, tongue only slightly in cheek.
My sympathies, though, remain with the people in the supposedly small part of Chicago where the violence is the worst. Children getting gunned down while playing on the sidewalk is not something that anyone should have to tolerate. Safety is the first order of business if we are to restore a civil society.
So, I am reminded of the deployment of troops in Iraq to clear and hold neighborhoods and towns. The successful "surge" brought about the stable conditions necessary for a semblance of order and peace to be restored.
Bagdad on the Lake? Daley's face would turn red if that expression ever got currency. But, the people in neighborhoods controlled by punks and gangs probably wouldn't disagree.
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