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Posse Comitatus: going down in a blaze of glory?

On my drive home from work on Friday, NPR was broadcasting a piece on the effort by the Bush administration to revisit the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from being deployed in a law enforcement capacity domestically.

It was enacted after the Civil War to prevent federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states, but it has been an issue that fires up the militia/survivalist/fringe Right crowd, who have pointed to various incidents (Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidians) as a sign that the government is bloodthirsty in its contempt of the Act.

Bush’s speech on Thursday started raising hackles on the Right when he said the military is “the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment’s notice.” In this case, a repeal of this Act would give the already criminal, incompetent, meglomaniacal Bush Administration even more power to f*ck the country up under the guise of “caring” for the sheeple. Sounds familiar?

Karl Rove, after all, revealed in an off-the-record gathering in Aspen, Colorado this weekend that the Katrina mistakes were simply a problem of the feds not being able to override the local government.

I wonder how much support there will be in Congress for this. After all, they rolled over and played dead for The Patriot Act, all because of fear, ignorance and laziness. (AP):

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is reviewing a wide range of possible changes in the way the military could be used in domestic emergencies, spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said Friday. He said these included possible changes in the relationship between federal and state military authorities.

…Di Rita said Rumsfeld has not made recommendations to Bush, but among the issues he is examining is the viability of the Posse Comitatus Act. Di Rita called it one of the “very archaic laws” from a different era in U.S. history that limits the Pentagon’s flexibility in responding to 21st century domestic crises.

Another such law, Di Rita said, is the Civil War-era Insurrection Act, which Bush could have invoked to waive the law enforcement restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act. That would have enabled him to use either National Guard soldiers or active-duty troops – or both – to quell the looting and other lawlessness that broke out in New Orleans.

The Insurrection Act lets the president call troops into federal action inside the United States whenever “unlawful obstructions, combinations or assemblages – or rebellion against the authority of the United States – make it impracticable to enforce the laws” in any state.

The political problem in Katrina was that Bush would have had to impose federal command over the wishes of two governors – Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi – who made it clear they wanted to retain state control.

I was wondering what the Freepi were thinking of this little move by their demi-god in the White House. They are not happy — some are turning on one another.


Actual Freeper Quotes

“The failures at the state level should not be solved at the federal level. Alabama and Mississippi handle Katrina well, it was the Louisiana State government that failed. Regardless, I don’t want to see the National Guard in a foreign country, and the US military in our streets.”

“Calm down…they’re just continuing to lay the foundation for the Police State 1984 style. Don’t worry. I’m here from the government and I’m here to help.”

“Slippery sloap… alert!”

“I knew this bullchit was coming…thanks to an absolute incompetence of the lousyana dembos”

“I strongly suspect the Pentagon’s lawyers will seek to limit any changes to the Posse Comitatus themselves. We in the military don’t WANT to be the police. We don’t train to be police officers and don’t want to. To put soldiers who don’t train for policing in policing roles is as dangerous a situation for the soldiers as it is for the civilians. If we’d wanted to be police officers, we’d have joined the police.”

“The Possee Comitatus Act should be left the way it is… the only thing that needs to be changed are the people in charge of the cities and state of Louisiana.”

“If they want to patrol the borders, I’m all for it, but you just can’t trust the gubmint.”

“The Dims will raise a great cry against this in an attempt to style themselves defenders of liberty.”

“The only solution to anything seems to be more power to the government. Someone is enjoying this crap!”

“They told 70 y/o Patricia Konie,”We are here to help you” before they tackled her, disarmed her, and drug her out of her stocked house to a 2.5×6 foot cot.”

“If I were still in the military and I saw another soldier confiscating a gun from a civilian, I would shoot the soldier, shoot to kill. I don’t think I’m the only one. Perhaps it would even be legal to do that.”

“And not to worry: the Republicans won’t let this happen . . . heh-heh.”

“If the law is amended to allow the military to perform law enforcement it will be a bad day for the nation. One of these day the republicans will loose to the democrats and I fear the use of the military and the patriot act powers by people who will use them to go after conservative groups.The lack of exposure of how the Clintons went after the right using then existing powers is leading to this. No one is afraid of a Hillary presidency with her having the powers of the Patriot Act II. Its my nightmare.”

“At least he understands what happened in NO. The Constitution was shredded and pissed on by every governmental agency imaginable.”

The Dims will raise a great cry against this in an attempt to style themselves defenders of liberty.

“Well at least somebody will. I don’t care what letter they have by their name. Anyone supporting this possible action by the administration can’t be considered conservative by any sense of the word”

“Is it just me, or is every single thing all the lawmakers are proposing lately — particularly Bush — NORMALLY immediately followed by the phrase ‘in direct confrontation with the explicit wishes of the founding fathers’????”

“This act needs to be strengthened, not weakened. When the military turns to domestic law enforcement we’re on a short road to a police state.”

“Well, if this sterling patriot advocates shooting US troops carrying out a legal order (yes, disarmament can be a legal order in a declared disaster zone)…..I’m sure he’d be welcome over at Aryan Nation.”

“Is it just me, or is every single thing all the freepers are proposing lately — NORMALLY immediately followed by the phrase ‘in direct confrontation with the explicit wishes of the founding fathers’???? The Bush administration and this site are losing it.”

“On the other hand, the enemy has already infiltrated the nation, with our open borders and non-enforced immigration laws. What the hell do we have to lose either way?”

“I predict that a great many FR posters will support the idea.”

“You remember when this site was dedicated to the support of the Constitution? It
is now a haven of Bill O’Reilly goose stepping morons.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding