PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY — Latin American nations must try to use their police and not their military forces to enforce the law, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday, telling defense ministers here that the U.S. will help them build their capabilities.Here in America we don't use the military, we just turn our police forces into military units.
Speaking to a conference of defense ministers from the Americas, where militaries are often used to battle drug traffickers and other guerrilla groups, Panetta said the U.S. realizes that it's sometimes difficult to decide if a threat requires the use of the military or law enforcement.
"In some cases, countries have turned to their defense forces to support civilian authorities," Panetta said in remarks prepared for delivery. "To be clear, the use of the military to perform civil law enforcement cannot be a long-term solution."
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