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Police Success Must Include Sensitivity

April 04, 1993

I am chief instructor of aikido, a martial art, at the Aikikai of the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. I would like to respond to "Waiting Game Is Newest Weapon" by Paul Dean that appeared in your March 10 View.

First, Dean quotes Gordon Liddy, who is a former FBI agent, but also a former criminal who willfully chose to break the law in the passion of either financial or political lust. I take sharp issue with quoting such a source.

Second, any of us, be we military or in law enforcement, know that tragedy is always the direct result of tactical error. The deaths of the agents in Waco, Tex., were a direct result of blundering and administrative insensitivity that reflected a lack of timing, information and flexibility that allows success in a mission. The arresting officers were sacrificed needlessly.

Liddy's reference to a Navy SEAL Team is absurd. Navy SEALs are very expensive to train. Because of this investment, they are not usually thrown into impossible schemes of political romanticism as easily as Liddy was thrown into his criminal scheme.

The success of the SEALs, or any law-enforcement team, is based on research, understanding, and a respect for the suspect or the enemy. All the firepower in the world cannot replace sensitivity and good intelligence on law enforcement and combat missions.

BOB BURNS

San Diego

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