There's a disturbing report in today's Chicago Sun-Times about the appearance of gang symbols and graffitti in Iraq. This activity is a product of U.S. soliders who have maintained gang affiliations while in uniform. Members of rival gangs maintain a truce while serving in the military--even fighting side-by-side. But once they return to their home turf, all bets are off.
While it doesn't receive a lot of attention, there has been gang activity in the military for years, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps. Annecdotal evidence suggests that some gang leaders encourage some members to join the military, acquiring weapons and combat skills that might be useful when they return to civilian life--and the gangs.
Some of the Army officials interviewed by the Sun-Times believe the potential threat is overstated. But I believe the hand-writing is on the wall for big-city police departments around the country. If even a few of these highly-trained, urban warfare experts return to the gangs--and share their skills with others--local police need to invest in similar training and equipment for their officers.