Posse Comitatus: Rest In Peace

Of all the idiocy we’ve seen during Dubya’s administration, this may end up being the worst……

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials. […] There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.


The American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute are troubled by what they consider an expansion of executive authority.

Domestic emergency deployment may be “just the first example of a series of expansions in presidential and military authority,” or even an increase in domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU’s National Security Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of “a creeping militarization” of homeland security.

“There’s a notion that whenever there’s an important problem, that the thing to do is to call in the boys in green,” Healy said, “and that’s at odds with our long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the peace.”

Given the way the ‘war on drugs’ has turned so many US law enforcement agencies into thuggish paramilitary shock troops, jailed thousands of non-violent offenders, and overthrown many long-held constitutional protections, it’s pretty safe to assume that such a resource of state power will eventually be used to assist other “high risk” law enforcement activities, such as braking up political riots, anti-terrorism raids, and so forth.

Barack Obama was elected on the slogan of ‘change’. Let us hope one of his first acts is to squash this nonsense while it’s still an idea.

I’m not holding my breath.

5 thoughts on “Posse Comitatus: Rest In Peace

  1. Barack Obama was elected on the slogan of ‘change’. Let us hope one of his first acts is to squash this nonsense while it’s still an idea.

    Using the regular military for internal security is certainly a mistake, but I’d personally be more frightened if the same thing was put in place but in a civilian guise. Especially if it was ‘just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded., viz http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy7s.

    This role, if it ever needs to be filled in a military context, is exactly what the National Guard was established to do. To prevent this being done by a regular military is exactly why the US military primarily consists of reserves on full time service, even when it’s not stretched. America is really struggling with it’s founding values and God help the West when it falters.

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