In Afghanistan, we patrolled in big, armored trucks. We wore uniforms that conveyed the message, “We are a military force, and we are in control right now.” Many Afghans saw us as occupiers.
And now we see some of our police officers in this same way. “The militarization of law enforcement is counter-productive to domestic policing and needs to stop,” tweeted Andrew Exum, a former Army infantry officer.
If there’s one thing I learned in Afghanistan, it’s this: You can’t win a person’s heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at his or her chest.