Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Posse Comitatus, RIP?
"According to the Army Times (dated Tuesday, September 30, 2008), 'Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT [Brigade Combat Team] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.' ... The Times column also reported that the Army brigade 'may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control ..." It seems that the Army's new domestic duties also include 'traffic control' as well as subduing 'unruly or dangerous individuals.' ... I am assuming that the planners and promoters of this newfound function for the Army brigade envision the Army assisting local first responders in dealing with natural emergencies such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and the like. Good intentions notwithstanding, to assisting domestic police duties to the U.S. military is extremely disturbing. ... One of America's most sacred principles has always been that the U.S. military was never to be used for domestic law enforcement. The fear of standing armies ran very deep in the hearts and minds of America's founders. ... But in 2006, President George W. Bush pushed a Republican-controlled Congress to pass the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, which included a section titled 'Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies.' ... This evokes serious questions. Who will give the order to send U.S. troops against American civilians, and under what circumstances? What will the rules of engagement be? ... It seems to me that to now ascribe law enforcement duties to the U.S. Army only serves to augument the argument that America is fast approaching police state status. ... I think there is an even bigger question, What exactly will members of our armed forces do if and when they are commanded to seize Americans' firearms, arrest them at gun point, or even fire on them? How many soldiers and Marines love liberty and constitutional government enough to resist such orders, should they be given? And how many officers would resist issuing such orders?", my emphasis, Chuck Baldwin (CB), 1 October 2008 at http://www.chuckbaldwinblive.com/c2008/cbarchieve_20081001.html.
CB, a Baptist pastor in Pensacola, Florida is the Constitution Party candidate for US President. CB raises a good point. Would our troops refuse to engage in a new "Boston Massacre" or fire on civilians as happened to 1931's "Bonus Army"? Would Bush, who seems to have contempt for law, get a legal rationalization from "his" lawyer, John Yoo? Would scenes like that at Tiananmen Square in 1989 subject the US to international ridicule? Or set off a civil war? Bush does not know what he is playing with. It's almost enough to make you want the Iraq War to continue. At least our troops are on the other side of the ocean.