December 14, 2008 7:13 AM

Cue the black helicopters in 4...3...2....

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. 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, defense analysts said. 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. But 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.

I understand that "everything changed" on 9.11. I get that; I really do. What I fail to understand, though, is how the American Sheeple can so idly acquiesce to the steady, inexorable wearing away of civil liberties we and our forebears have enjoyed for more than 200 years. What's next, forcing us to provide room and board to soldiers? Posse Comitatus is not some mere abstract concept, a nice idea meant to be swept away at the first sign of trouble. Truth be told, Posse Comitatus is one of the legs that the rule of law in this country is built upon. It's one of the things that keeps military rule from being a realistic possibility, and while some might call me alarmist for thinking that having 20,000 armed American soldiers on duty inside the US assisting local law enforcement...well, just consider the possibilities. And it's not like you have to go far to do just that. Remember the armed National Guardsmen in airport terminals after 9.11?

There are those who would opine that the US would NEVER head down the path of precedent set by countries who use their military to maintain order and enforce security. Really, though; exactly what measures are in place to keep this from happening? Once you do away with Posse Comitatus, what checks and balances remain that would prevent the federal government from using American troops to secure their power and dominion?

No, I'm not saying that Barack Obama will employ the US Army to occupy major cities and institute martial law. At some point in our history, though, it could happen...and 200+ years of history would be swept away as we devolve into just another banana republic whose civilian government's main responsibility is ensuring that it has the support of the military command structure. I never thought that I would EVER have cause to use the words "military coup" and "American government" in the same sentence in my lifetime, but there you have it. Yes, it could happen, and the government's plan to set aside Posse Comitatus represents a potentially disturbing slide down a slippery slope. It may not happen tomorrow, but once we start down that path, the momentum will be be easily halted.

As much as I hate sounding like a Libertarian, this idea represents a clear and present danger to our civil liberties. To paraphrase one Benjamin Franklin, those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. Frankly, that's a tough one to argue with, because so few of us seem to give a damn.

I suppose that would certainly explain the past eight years, eh?

blog comments powered by Disqus


Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on December 14, 2008 7:13 AM.

Amen.... was the previous entry in this blog.

Not if I have anything to say about it is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Contact Me

Powered by Movable Type 5.12