The End of Posse Comitatus?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It’s often been said the reason the Bush administration ignored the now infamous August 6th, 2001 PBD that warned of terrorists using commercial airliners as missiles and aiming them at American targets, was to lay the groundwork for an unprecedented expansion of the police state and the destruction of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights as Americans

So it should come as no surprise to now learn the Defense Department 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 the Pentagon:

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts. The Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

However, 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, the Federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

Some military mouthpieces have taken to characterizing the Posse Comitatus Act as a “myth” and a mere procedural formality.

“The ‘Posse Comitatus Act’ (PCA), Title 18 of the U.S. Code (USC), Section 1385, states generally:

Prohibits U.S. military personnel from interdicting vehicles, vessels and aircraft; conducting surveillance searches, pursuit and seizures; or making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities. Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing U.S. law and policy limiting the military’s role in domestic affairs.

The question is, do the American people want or need the presence of military personnel on our streets, as we try to go about our daily activities? What happened to Bush’s claim that we were “fighting the terrorists over there, so we wouldn’t have to fight them here?” And finally, where does President-elect Obama stand on the end of Posse Comitatus?

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19 Responses to The End of Posse Comitatus?

  1. KayInMaine says:

    Christopher, check out the post I did about this back in September:

    http://whitenoiseinsanity.com/2008/09/22/why-is-there-an-army-unit-combat-brigade-training-in-america-for-domestic-operations-in-america/

    The Army Times has now updated this article to reflect this Brigade is training for purposes in Iraq. Oh yeah, suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure they are! Spit.

  2. Estacada says:

    Another top notch post, Christopher.

    I hadn’t heard anything about the Defense Department preparing to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011.

    You have to also ask, what are the Feds planning next to try and frighten us into accepting further destruction of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

    One thing is certain, they won’t stop with 9/11. If anything, 9/11 was only the beginning.

  3. Joe in Colorado says:

    Echoing what Estacada said. Bush and his minions tried feverishly to destroy habeas corpus. Were it not for a single vote by a SCOTUS judge who recognized the path the U.S. was headed, we would’ve lost habeas corpus, too. Democracy is under attack, alright but not from without. The greatest threat to American democracy comes from within.

  4. Woodcliffe says:

    I had to laugh at Bush last night.

    Suddenly, he’s so damned worried about his legacy and how history will portray him. He basically said he prefers the people of Africa over the American people because when they wave at him, he sees all five fingers opposed to the middle one directed at him.

    All I know is, Obama had better not go down the same path as the current mess in the White House and give into the forces of the globalists and the police state or he really will be a one termer. The choice is his.

  5. O. Kassabian says:

    I’m 99% certain Hillary Clinton voted “For” Bush’s so-called USA Patriot Act and now she’s going to be the next Secretary of State? Not a good sign, folks.

  6. R.J. says:

    I’d like to know what Obama’s view is on this.

  7. so martial law is next?

  8. Matteo says:

    Don’t despair, folks.

    Obama Ousting Many Top Pentagon Officials

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/01/AR2008120102891.html?hpid=topnews

    Although President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to keep Robert M. Gates at the helm of the Pentagon will provide a measure of continuity for a military fighting two wars, many of Gates’s top deputies are expected to depart their jobs, according to senior defense and transition officials.

    Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, Gates’s right-hand man in running the Pentagon day to day, is widely expected to leave his post, said the officials, one of whom noted that England’s speechwriter is reportedly taking another job.

    Leading candidates to replace England include Obama campaign adviser Richard J. Danzig, who could eventually replace Gates; Pentagon transition review team co-leader Michèle A. Flournoy; and possibly former Pentagon comptroller William J. Lynn, said Obama transition officials and sources close to the transition.

    The anticipated turnover of many key positions suggests that although Gates will help provide some continuity, the status quo will not necessarily endure at the Pentagon.

  9. Conejo1982 says:

    I had high hopes President-elect Obama would tag Wes Clark to head up the Pentagon.

    Clark isn’t perfect but he’s a far cry better than Gates.

  10. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    You see, what Bush has done is dismantle our country to such an extent that now the National Guard is being sent to Iraq and upon return.

    If members return sick or in need medical care, because they’re not a member of one of the four branches of the military (Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force) they can’t go to VA Hospitals.

    Bush has created chaos and when there is chaos, people are more readily controlled.

  11. JollyRoger says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the military is so pissed off right now that a declaration of martial law would spell the end of this country, precisely as a martial law declaration ended the USSR. This isn’t an uninformed opinion.

    Hopefully Obama, who has some pretty intelligent people around him, is aware of this and starts backing us away from it.

  12. Idaho Librul says:

    I just find it very curious that chatter on the cable news outlets in the weeks before the Mumbai attack kept trying to bring it home to American soil.

    Remember how these reports said a terrorist attack would greet Obama within his first 100 days in office? It was as though the intelligence community wanted something bad to happen.

    Then on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Mumbai event was rolled out.

  13. feminazi says:

    Thank you for posting this. It has sent me to my trusty encyclopedia to revisit the Posse Comitatus Act of 1812 and help me better understand what makes it important to us as a nation. To answer your one question, no, hell no, I don’t want to see the military on the streets. The USA isn’t a banana republic.

  14. I’m surprised so many of the wingnuts poo poo this stuff as naive tinfoil hattery when they should want any whiff of the government on the street gone just like those of us commie pinkos since then if anything bad erupts, here’s their chance to go all Red Dawn 2nd amendment superhero and save us from whomever the Boogeyman of the Month is.

  15. joost says:

    As I understand the Posse Comitatus Act, it originally came into existence in response to prohibit the use of the U.S. army in civilian law enforcement, unless otherwise instructed by the president, thereby excluding the military from the civilian sphere.

    President Ulysses S. Grant had sent a posse comitatus to the polls in the election of 1876 and Southern Democratic members of the House resented the use of federal troops during Reconstruction.

    It is because of the Posse Comitatus Act that many civil libertarians believe Martial Law would be almost impossible to implement because the role of the military would be required and their role in civilian law enforcement is restricted by the act.

  16. DMason says:

    I think Joost is correct. This explains why Bush was hell bent for leather to revisit and remove the Posse Comitatus Act. Once it is gone, the troops are free to roll down Main Street and the American people can’t do a thing about it.

  17. Fran says:

    I feel like my head is about to explode. I can’t take any more Bush crap. I have reached my saturation level. Can’t we send Bush on a tour to somewhere, anywhere, far far away?

    I’m certain Obama has a better grasp on the Constitution, and is aware militia in the streets is not the path to reelection.

  18. Randy Arroyo says:

    Isn’t it ironic? Bush loves to say he liberated the Iraqi people from tyranny but he made sure to create tyranny for the American people.

  19. Dan says:

    Well this all really depends…In this case it is in violation of the Posse Comitatus act but there is a misunderstanding of the act. There is “exceptions” if you will…1. If National Guard units are under command of the Governor of the state it isn’t in violation. 2.Coupled with the Insurrection act it isn’t a violation.3. If it is in response to a nuclear,biological,or radiological attack where state police or police aid is inadequete then it isn’t a violation. Anyway in this case it is a violation since there has been no attacks and the army is under command of the Pentagon.

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