UPDATE: 07-10-09 DEBATE OVER USE OF ARMY FOR DOMESTIC MATTERS CONTINUES ...
According to TheHill.com ...
"A bipartisan pair of governors is opposing a new Defense Department proposal to handle natural and terrorism-related disasters, contending that a murky chain of command could lead to more problems than solutions. Current law gives governors control over National Guard forces in their own states as well as any Guard units and Defense Department personnel imported from other states. The letter comes as the Pentagon proposes a legislative fix that would give the secretary of Defense the authority to assist in response to domestic disasters and, consequently, control over units stationed in an affected state."
What makes this issue so critical is that you have the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi denouncing those who disagree with the Administration's and Congress' healthcare proposal as un-American. Others have referred to those who protest as thugs, houligans, terrorists, etc. Turning over this much domestic power to a White House and Administration that appears to be openly radical, socialist and willing to use Chicago-style force to make their point is patently dangerous. The rules were made for a purpose and that purpose is still as valid today as it was when they were first written.
Remember: the Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment to protect against government tyranny ... something we are approaching at a rapid pace. It is time to limit the power of the Presidency and the Administration to those powers enumerated by the Constitution that the leftists are so busy trying to redefine.
Original Blog Entry ...
We always thought it might be Barack Obama, who recently spoke of a national civilian defense force that had the resources and strength of the military, that would breach the Posse Comitatus Act – and thus pose a major threat to the freedom and liberty enjoyed by Americans under our Constitution. We were wrong … it just might be George Bush.
Posse Comitatus …
“The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.”
“The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (the Army, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain ‘law and order’ on non-federal property (states and their counties and municipal divisions) in the former Confederate states.”
“The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Act.” <Source>
The Insurrection Act …
“The Insurrection Act of 1807 is the set of laws that govern the President of the United States of America's ability to deploy troops within the United States to put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. The laws are chiefly contained in 10 U.S.C. § 331 - 10 U.S.C. § 335. The general aim is to limit Presidential power as much as possible, relying on state and local governments for initial response in the event of insurrection. Coupled with the Posse Comitatus Act, Presidential powers for law enforcement are limited and delayed.” <Source>
Previous Bush attempts …
“On September 26, 2006, President Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that the U.S. military could seize control immediately in the aftermath of a natural disaster, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”
“Section 1076 is titled ‘Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies’. It provided that:
“The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such... a condition... so hinders the execution of the laws... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”
“The actual text is on pages 322–323 of the legislation.” H.R. 5122 can be found here.
“These changes were included in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law on Oct 17, 2006, subsequently repealed in their entirety.”
“As of 2008, these changes have been repealed in their entirety, reverting to the original 1878 wording of the Posse Comitatus Act.” <Source>
It appears that this legislation breaches the trust and faith that the people of the United States have in our Constitution and supports the wisdom of our Founding Fathers when then introduced the Second Amendment right to own and bear arms as a potential weapon against a governmental tyranny. Of course, the Founding Fathers did not have to deal with weapons of mass destruction or the possibility of easily-coordinated attacks over widespread geography.
Under this legislation, the United States could be turned into a dictatorship with little more than the stroke of a pen – even using a natural disaster or concocted event to trigger the act. And, as we have seen from historical reference, power once granted to the federal government is almost impossible to restrict or remove.
We have also seen over the last eight years, President Bush and Vice President Cheney assert greater and greater powers for the Executive Branch of the Government and the expanded use of so-called Signing Statements which appeared to allow the Administration to circumvent Congressional mandates whenever they felt it necessary.
But, it was apparently the belief of many Americans that the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans would fight to uphold the Constitutional Rights of all Americans and that it would be the democrats who would push for greater federalization efforts in their attempt to increase socialistic behavior in the United States.
Why I am concerned …
Over the years there have been a number of attempts, mostly instigated by far-left liberal democrats to disarm the citizens of the United States and to impose legislation which would cripple or eliminate our God-given right to self-defense from both domestic and foreign threats.
While some forms of patriotism have been vilified by those who believe that America is a corrupt nation and the proximate cause of many of the world’s ills, it remains true to this day – that a well-armed citizenry is the best protection against government tyranny and the invasion of those who wish us harm.
It is well-documented that both Barack Obama and his Attorney General designate, Eric Holder, do not believe that the Second Amendment is an absolute right and that laws must be crafted to enforce gun control. Holder co-signed an amicus brief in support of the District of Columbia’s ban on all handguns and on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home.
What have we done?
“Pentagon to detail plan to bolster security: Plan would dedicate 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S. by 2011”
According to the Washington Post …
“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.”
Good planning or a double-edged sword that can be misused by the Administration?
“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.”
Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response -- a nearly sevenfold increase in five years -- ‘would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,’ Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted ‘a fundamental change in military culture,’ he said.
What is the purpose of the States’ National Guard?
“The Pentagon's plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.”
“If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.”
Perhaps the answer is to raise a larger standing military and return the National Guard to their more traditional role in solving state problems. Yes, the Guard could train with active military units in combat theatres, but the centralized command and control of domestic Guard units would remain with State governors unless ceded by proper authority to the military for specifically designated time periods, after which Congressional re-authorization would be required.
“Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been underway since at least 1996, when the Marine Corps activated a 350-member chemical and biological incident response force and later based it in Indian Head, Md., a Washington suburb. Such efforts accelerated after the Sept. 11 attacks, and at the time Iraq was invaded in 2003, a Pentagon joint task force drew on 3,000 civil support personnel across the United States.”
In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized "preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents." National security threats were not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad, McHale said, but also include those who "want to inflict such brutality on our society that we give up the fight," such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city.
“In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.”
Speaking of Hurricane Katrina …
One of the first actions of the New Orleans Police Department, under the auspices of Mayor Ray Nagin was to violate the Constitution of the United States and illegally confiscate any and all weapons from law-abiding citizens who were then rendered impotent to defend themselves against looters and criminals of all stripes. Many in the New Orleans police force turned tail and deserted their posts, thus leaving citizens to defend themselves. And yet, Nagin and his ilk are still in power; perhaps due to the complacency, and some would argue, stupidity, of the citizens of New Orleans.
“Last month, McHale said, authorities agreed to begin a $1.8 million pilot project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which civilian authorities in five states could tap military planners to develop disaster response plans. Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia will each focus on a particular threat -- pandemic flu, a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release, respectively -- speeding up federal and state emergency planning begun in 2003.”
Defense Secretary Gates …
“Last Monday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered defense officials to review whether the military, Guard and reserves can respond adequately to domestic disasters.”
“Gates gave commanders 25 days to propose changes and cost estimates. He cited the work of a congressionally chartered commission, which concluded in January that the Guard and reserve forces are not ready and that they lack equipment and training.”
Perhaps it would be appropriate for Defense Secretary Gates, who is said to be President-elect Obama’s choice for an interim Secretary of Defense, to be questioned about these issues during his upcoming Senate Confirmation Hearings. That is, assuming that the majority of the Senate will not vote along party lines to offer an automatic confirmation of the Secretary.
Breaks the mold?
“Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S. Army War College's Center for Strategic Leadership, said the new Pentagon approach ‘breaks the mold’ by assigning an active-duty combat brigade to the Northern Command for the first time. Until now, the military required the command to rely on troops requested from other sources.”
" ‘This is a genuine recognition that this [job] isn't something that you want to have a pickup team responsible for,’ said Tussing, who has assessed the military's homeland security strategies.”
Both sides of the political spectrum are troubled …
“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.’"
Remembering Waco and Ruby Ridge …
We should not forget the past. Especially when the highly-politicalized Clinton Department of Justice under the direction of Janet Reno attacked civilians in the guise of a law enforcement activity which many have characterized as a pre-scheduled media event – possibly with the members of the military acting in an “advisory” capacity.
Over the past years, we have seen the wall between the FBI (domestic) and the CIA (foreign) fall by the wayside. We have also seen the consolidation of power in the Department of Homeland Defense – headed by a lawyer without management or practical skills in leading a major Agency. A leader who campaigned alongside of the President for political purposes while neglecting a department that was encountering great difficulty in organizational dynamics. To this day, I believe the Department is too large to govern effectively and is riddled with waste, fraud, corruption and malfeasance as is most large bureaucracies that are feeling their way through the political process. This is not to say that there are not quite a few dedicated and skilled people employed b DHS, but that the leadership seems sorely lacking and cries out for someone of proven worth: a Colin Powell, for example. In fact, that would be a perfect job for Powell, a man whose patriotic credentials are beyond reproach. A man with the skill and temperament for the task at hand. And someone who knows, first hand, what the military – given the correct command leadership structure– could accomplish.
What can YOU do?
Consider the non-nuclear events which might trigger this act. A natural disaster -- hurrican, earthqake, forest fire; a widespread flu or other medical emergency; a compromise of important infrastructure -- power lines or aquaducts. All events which could be exploited as a demonstration of the need for greater control over the civilian population and a suspension of civil law in favor of martial law. If this happens, I would much rather be assisted by my neighbors and friends in the national guard than impersonal troops from some national command authority. How about you?
Now, more than ever before, we need to rebuild our political infrastructure. It is time to choose leaders based on their proven ability to accomplish their sworn duties and not by their telegenic, oratorical and fund-raising skills. It is time that we do not allow party politics to provide us with lame candidates like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush and others who might “go along to get along.” The mere fact that a relatively few people in relatively unpopulated states should define our political candidates is ludicrous. We not only need to reform the political parties, we need to reform the primary election process.
We also need to reform the voting process. It seems that we have not learned the lessons of Florida as candidates are still wrangling over fly-specks on paper ballots. The process is becoming more open to corruption due to a lack of security for mailed absentee ballots. Finding ballots in the back of someone’s personal vehicle is unacceptable in this electronic age.
And we need to assume more personal responsibility for what our government does in our name. The issues should be discussed with the widest number of people. Our elected officials should not be allowed to tamper with the First Amendment in restricting broadcast or Internet rights.
We need to overcome apathy and the laziness that is allowing us to drift toward a more centralized government control over our lives. In some cases, unions which have greatly hampered education in the United States should be disbanded. We need to reassert educational imperatives at the local level.
And while our politicians are deciding how the military might play a role in civilian defense, has anyone considered that we are being invaded by hoards of foreigners, illegal aliens, who are looking to our government to empower them with a vote to simply vote us out of our own institutions and homeland? All facilitated by power-hungry political parties trying to game the system to their political advantage.
While there is much that is right with our nations, our politicians are slowly corrupting the America we know and love. Whether for political power, prestige of office, or personal profit, our politicians are becoming worse and worse. No leadership, no accountability and no specific performance in repairing or replacing our crumbling infrastructure – as they engage in social experiments designed to produce nothing but beholden voters.
We can no longer rely on the media to discover the truth nor speak truth to power. It is all up to individuals, the average citizen speaks out, if to no one other than his friends and neighbors, and then back talk with action to support worthy candidates for office.
Be well, be safe and protect American freedom at all cost.
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
Pentagon to detail plan to bolster security|Washington Post