U.S. Mulls Military's Domestic Role

RIFLEMAN

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland security chief Tom Ridge says the threat of terrorism may force government planners to consider using the military for domestic law enforcement, now largely prohibited by federal law.

President Bush has called on Congress to thoroughly review the law that bans the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from participating in arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other police-type activity on U.S. soil. The Coast Guard and National Guard troops under the control of state governors are excluded from the Reconstruction-era law, known as the "Posse Comitatus Act."

Ridge said Sunday that it "goes against our instincts as a country to empower the military with the ability to arrest," and called the prospect "very unlikely."

But he said the government is wise to examine the law.

"We need to be talking about military assets, in anticipation of a crisis event," Ridge said on "Fox News Sunday." "And clearly, if you're talking about using the military, then you should have a discussion about posse comitatus."

Two influential Democratic senators agreed with Bush and Ridge that the law ought to be reviewed, but expressed no interest in granting the military new powers to arrest American citizens.

Sen. Carl Levin chairman Senate Armed Services Committee, said posse comitatus "has served us well for a long time."

"It's kept the military out of law enforcement, out of arresting people except in the most unusual emergency situations like a riot or after some kind of a disaster where they have to protect against looting," Levin, D-Mich., said on CNN's "Late Edition."

However, he said: "I don't fear looking at it to see whether or not our military can be more helpful in a very supportive and assisting role even than they have been up to now — providing equipment, providing training, those kind of things which do not involve arresting people."

Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he favors expanding the military's role in responding to major catastrophes such as an attack by a weapon of mass destruction.

The law "has to be amended, but we're not talking about general police power," Biden, D-Del., said on "Fox News Sunday."

Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, who heads the new military command charged with defending American territory, told The New York Times he favors changing the law to grant greater domestic powers to the military to protect against terror attacks. He offered no specific changes he favored.

Congress is racing to approve legislation by the end of its session this fall that would make Bush's proposed Department of Homeland Security a reality.

In the Senate, a version of the measure by Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., tracks closely with Bush's plan. It also would augment the agency's ability to gather and analyze intelligence from the FBI, CIA and others.

That bill is to be considered by the Senate committee Wednesday.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey said on NBC's "Meet the Press" there was a strong possibility Congress will resolve its differences and send Bush a bill enacting the sweeping government reorganization by Sept. 11.

Some lawmakers have expressed concern about rushing decisions on far-reaching changes in the bureaucracy, but Armey said: "It's time to move forward with this. The president's got a good plan."

Bush planned to give a speech Monday about his proposed new department and view demonstrations of high-technology devices for combatting terrorism that are being developed at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois
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    I would be very fearful of any changes to the statutes within Posse Comitatus.  The Founding Fathers never intended a permanent standing army, much less one that was used to police its own people.  Despite their claims that the role of the military for domestic matters would be limited, I think it is a dangerous proposition.  Also, someone please remind me what good the National Guard is if they intend on using the Army regulars instead...
 

Kernhuntr

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Rifleman,

I'm in total agreement!!!

The eventual loss of liberty and rights would not be far in coming.

Kernhuntr
 

RIFLEMAN

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You got it, Kernhuntr.  We are not alone in this thinking either.  Though some might discredit it simply as paranoia, the correlation of a regular army with the loss of liberty is as old as our country.  I forgot who said it (and forgive my paraphrasing), but it was said that the establishment of a standing army is the bane of liberty.  
 

RIFLEMAN

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Here's the quote I was referring to...

"What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
--Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress at 750, 17 August 1789
 

Kickaha

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I seriously question the motives of anyone who proposes things like this.  And, if their motives are pure, then I question their intelligence.  If I were "in charge" and my motives were as pure as they could be, I wouldn't do it.  I wouldn't even suggest it.  Why?  Because the next goober to come down the line may NOT have pure motives.  And it's a SURE BET that one such person would eventually show up.
 

Kernhuntr

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<font face=arial size=1><blockquote><hr noshade size=1>Quote: from RIFLEMAN on 7:01 pm on July 22, 2002
Though some might discredit it simply as paranoia, the correlation of a regular army with the loss of liberty is as old as our country.  <hr noshade size=1></blockquote></font>

Remember....just because you're paranoid does not mean they aren't out to get you (or take away liberties).

Kernhuntr
 

huntducks

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I feel that using Regular Military along our boarders Land & Sea would be justified with say a 1- 25 mile buffer depending on area.

Posse Comitatus Act came about after CW appox. 1866-7 because of union troops abuses & aggression in the south & midwest, and as a way of telling people were one country again,and to have them provide there own law enforcement.

It truely is scarry to think if PCA was done away with or ammended as such to give overidding power to the military and Bit@h Hilary was president, or how about Davis with a Demo congress WOW:skeered::help::guillotine:
 

grizz

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Military on the borders, hell yes it's about time.  But thats it, not in the genral population.  
 

RIFLEMAN

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I would agree with you guys 100% about the use of our military on our borders; it is long overdue.  Our Armed Forces have been sent to the four corners of the world at a moment's notice, but they are rarely used openly to secure our borders...go figure.
 

Bald Eagle

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I remember asking myself what is the use of a Homeland Security force when we already have the National Guard.  I agree with the opinions on using the armed forces to guard our boarders.  However, it seems to me that we have entirely too many divisions of military forces that appear to be doing the same thing.  I say lets have either a Homeland Security Force OR National Guard but not both.  The Boarder Patroll should be a part of one or the other and not a separate group.

I also ask why we have the FBI (Federal Bureau of Imbisiles) AND the CIA (Central Idiot Administration).  Can't we combine the two and fire about 1/3 of the employees?  My brother was an FBI agent (God rest his sole) and I have never seen such a bumbling, fumbling bunch of "do nothings" in my whole life.  I have a suspicion that the CIA is as bad if not worse.

I'll step down off my soap box now and retire to the corner of the room.
 

BigDog

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This scares the s&^* out of me. Big Brother is just around the corner. And, anybody who pays attention knows that this is how the gov. works. A little bit until the public gets used to it, and then a little more, then a little more..........

huntducks, I noticed your comment about Hilary Clinton. Let me point out to you that these are Republicans talking about about setting the military loose on the public. Please don't fool yourself by thinking on side is better than the other. They are both scary.

Just my .02
 

Kernhuntr

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BigDog,

I agree that both sides are getting to be just about as bad as the other.......but think about it. Is there anybody more scary than Hilary?:lurk:

Kernhuntr
 

Hook

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When I was in the National Guard, we were used to "assist" Federal and local agencies along the border, but we were not suppose to get directly involved.

It would take a constitutional amendment to be able to have Military troops doing actual police work, or Martial Law. Scarey any way you slice it.
 

RIFLEMAN

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Hook,

    You are right about a constitutional mandate being lawfully necessary to invoke martial law (permanently), but two very scary things to keep in mind are that 1)there are many things blatantly unconstitutional that currently exist so why would the government pay any more heed to this subject when not doing so serves their purpose and 2)only the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of the military as a policing force.
 

huntducks

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Bigdog

I'll take 90% of the Republians over 90% of the democRATS except in KA where it would be 100% well 98% for sure.
 

BigDog

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I did not mean for my last post to indicate that I prefer one over the other. Instead, I think "Central government" is scarey in the first place and seems to be getting more so ever since 9/11.
 

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