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Friday, March 24, 2023
FairfaxOpinionEditorial: Local governments should stay out of international conflicts

Editorial: Local governments should stay out of international conflicts

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When, exactly, did local governments in Northern Virginia begin having their own foreign policies?

While their hearts undoubtedly were in the right place, it was a little unnerving to read, in these very pages last week, that the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office is taking part in an effort to donate 110 out-of-warranty but otherwise perfectly serviceable ballistic vests to Ukraine.

It’s apparently part of a statewide push, although the details remain a tad murky: A spokesman for the sheriff’s office, responding to inquiries, didn’t know exactly who would be getting the body armor lo those thousands of miles away, but said the Ukrainians could sort it out among themselves.

As for whether the Fairfax sheriff’s office ought to be picking sides in a conflict, the spokesman said: “The decision to support Ukraine is not controversial – we support democracy and oppose genocide.”


Self-righteous, indeed, but is it good policy? Trying to select winners and losers on the world stage can be a tricky business that can come back to bite. And based on the reporting, it looks like the body armor being sent to Ukraine otherwise would have been donated to public-safety agencies across the U.S. that don’t have the funding to purchase new equipment.

(Not all localities can pillage the populace for tax dollars like Northern Virginia localities can, after all. Consider it our local leaders’ special talent …)

Everybody should feel outraged about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And if people want to donate funds or humanitarian supplies, amen to that. But ballistic-vest donations? Seems they would just as likely end up on fighters as on first-responders or other noncombatants.

And that should raise some very real eyebrows here at home, as it seems we as a nation appear to be slowly, and maybe unwittingly, tiptoeing into more direct involvement in this unpleasantness.

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