Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This Isn't Good.............At All

The Quiet Militarization of America
The name of the so-called "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" has always disturbed and rankled me.
Created in the frenzied political aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it sounds like something Hitler's propaganda minister Josef Goebbels would have dreamed up to impress the gullible masses. Indeed, the attitude too often displayed at airports by overpaid DHS minions is akin to that of storm troopers.
Two years ago, I and others called attention to a dangerous provision slipped into an omnibus appropriation bill. The provision gave the President of the United States the unprecedented power to deploy the U.S. military for domestic duty within the United States as he sees fit.
President Bush (or someone who had his ear) came up with the disturbing idea that the U.S. military should be put in charge of domestic police matters when a "major catastrophe" occurs within America.
The operative factor here depends squarely on how one defines "major catastrophe." It's an elastic phrase that could be expanded at the stroke of a presidential pen. (Read some of the Presidential Emergency Declarations currently in effect and you may have trouble sleeping.)
Nevertheless, this extraordinary power was written into law. Now, for the first time, an active U.S. Army Infantry Brigade has been assigned "to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities."
Reportedly, these active duty troops will "learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it. They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control."
What possible rationale could there be for permanently deploying the U.S. Army inside the United States? One has to assume they would be used for such things as "crowd control," other traditional law enforcement functions, and a seemingly unlimited array of other uses at the President's sole discretion. What good could this serve the American people?
Perhaps they will be deployed to assure that the pending elections (or any Florida recounts) will be orderly. Or maybe they will be sent to Capitol Hill to convince a congressional majority that Wall Street deserves a US$700 billion bailout.
Recalling the unconstitutional excesses under the misnamed PATRIOT Act, are we now to believe a military trained to kill the enemy is going to play the role of Officer Clancy on the local beat?

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