Robert Gordon has a nice piece in TNR making the point that though it's good that crime demagoguery has largely dropped out of our politics it would actually be a good idea for politicians to address crime since, hey, crime rates are still really high in the United States and all this murdering causes a lot of suffering. Gordon further notes that the uneven successes of crime fighting efforts in the 1990s appear to have taught us some important lessons about effective policing techniques that could do a lot of good were the federal government to help underwrite their spread.
This is all correct, and we should do it. Also, I would say, federal money for more cops. Meanwhile, one effect of the Iraq War has been to take a lot of cops out of the field fighting crime at home and send them to Iraq as Army Reserve and National Guard members instead. That's hardly a knock-down argument against the war, but it's a reminder that these visions of endless "strategic patience" don't come without cost.
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