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.
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?