14 years of "Safe Roads"? It's time to finish the mission!

(To Andrea Cucco)

Last week there was a controversy over the downsizing (decided by the previous government) of the military engaged in "Safe Roads".

Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini said that "Strade Sicure is an experience that arises from some specific situations, in part it arises after the events of 1992 and the need to give testimony and concrete action of control of the territory, and on the other then the activity of prevention of terrorism phenomena. We must be very careful in handling this tool, which has developmental characteristics in relation to particular situations that the country is experiencing. It is not and cannot be ordinariness".

We agree with him but challenge prudence: the mission must not be "handled", it must be finished!

For too many years "Safe Roads" has been, for personnel employed, the main mission of our armed forces (at the time of writing, the website of the Ministry of Defense indicates over 7000 men and women!). A custom - never seriously questioned in perfect "dual use" rhetoric - which not only demeans the real function of the military, but which clumsily has long put public safety at risk. We explain it with a chronicle, fortunately never happened, BUT absolutely realistic.

LAST: After murdernato three: military on duty with the "Safe Roads" operation and having seized a VTLM "Lynx", un terrorist group it is sowing terror in the citySthey can already be dozens the victims and hundreds of wounded. Among these - we recall - numerous members of the police who have tried in vain to stop il armoredo Army da over 7 tons.

With the weapons of war stolen from the soldiers, the terrorists they are shooting on the passersby ed removenor any obstacle travagesndolor running.

The ministers of Defense and the Interior, reached by the news while they are engaged in a television broadcast, after a few minutes of bewilderment (to which advertising comes to the rescue), reappear and resolutely announce to their constituents to have authorized the use of force. Thanks to a providential new advertising interval, they are informed that the agents fired immediately but that the vehicles were not affected in the least and continue their mad rush by mowing down tourists and passers-by.

Their embarrassment is amplified when aerial images from various international channels recount the events: the world observes Italy live!

The Minister of Defense, recalling his military past, orders the use of higher calibers. "Bring the MGs or the Brownings !!!" - he yells hysterically into the phone and then adds - “What would it be like? ... don't they serve as a joke ??? "

Those in the television studio are endless moments of terror. While the sweat drips conspicuously from the temple of a minister still bewildered and red in the face and while the spokesmen resolutely send many tweet "#Andratuttobene", the other uses all the strength and the imperishable political determination of the country: "We could try to open a dialogue with ..."

At the same instant, an explosion in the city center annihilates the vehicle seized by the commando, creating a black smoke above it (the sequence will be resumed and shared by a billion people around the planet within 24 hours).

The silhouette of an A-129 appears on the horizon ... The “Mangusta”, helicopter combat (baptized EES "exploration and escort helicopter" for eunuch-political reasons), after having controlled the area from above for a few minutes, received the order, he returned to the base.

What you have just read is - we repeat - a story (with fictional characters ...) that we hope we never have to do but that could easily have become reality (as happened in Afghanistan!). The launching of offensive instruments intended for defense (read "WAR") for a mission that has very little to do with that DNA and which should remain protected in military areas must be concluded.

Is it enough to change means? The use of the old VM90s (some are over 30 years old!) Together with the Defender it is definitely preferable. As long as they hold up ...

In recent years, to be honest, the use of armored vehicles Lynx for “Strade Sicure” it seems to have been reduced (will some readers be able to confirm with a few shots of their cell phones from their own city?). Evidently someone must have been aware of the criticality at the time and taken some initiative.

However it has not been reset! And according to the "Grouping" the sensitivity to the potential danger seems to vary.

Among the security and counter-terrorism experts there was originally those who had advocated the Lynx to block vans in the hands of attackers (as will happen in France, in Nice, in 2016). But really we hadn't asked ourselves what would have happened if the vehicle to be blocked was the armored vehicle itself ???

With this article we absolutely do not want to affirm that the soldiers assigned to "Safe Roads" are unprepared or have not carried out numerous interventions for the benefit of the community over many years: they followed orders as when they were asked to collect garbage or something else. Some commanders even pointed out how, thanks to "Safe Roads", they were able to finance ordinary departments' activities (starting with maintenance), otherwise compromised by constant cuts.

Some experts argue that terrorism still threatens us and if anything we should increase the number of soldiers involved in the operation ... Can easy and operationally "profitable" targets really represent a deterrent for unscrupulous professionals? In serious countries, it is others who deal with certain vulnerabilities. Silently and with small caliber weapons, not "NATO"!

In a country that has about twice of the United Kingdom public security officers ed a third more of France, the use of the few soldiers for absolutely improper and superfluous tasks must stop.

With this reflection, therefore, we want to point out to some timid and indecisive political "decision makers" that more courage is needed. We have a war at the gates and a country with citizens and state apparatuses still absolutely unprepared for a serious conflict or crisis. Pandemic docet… Let's not further sabotage the Armed Forces and leave them to their fundamental task: knowing how to fight! Possibly equipped and trained.

Images: Online Defense / Italian Army