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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

View Poll Results: ???
The laws are fine as they are 9 69.23%
Some changes might be needed/should be considered 2 15.38%
Completely rewrite (or eliminate) it 1 7.69%
I for one embrace our coming facist state and say "bring it on!" (aka Other - please explain) 1 7.69%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-19-05, 08:39 AM   #1
nemein
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Should Posse Comitatus laws be eliminated/changed

I wonder when the conspiracy theories about the slow response was purposeful in order to enact this change (in preparation for the "facist state" no doubt) will surface

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0919/p...smi.html?s=hns

Quote:
Disaster relief? Call in the Marines.
Bush suggests lifting the ban on using the military domestically.

By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - As Washington picks through the lessons learned from hurricane Katrina, there is a growing conviction that the only organization with the skills, expertise, and resources needed to respond quickly to a catastrophe of such magnitude is the American military.

President Bush suggested a larger disaster relief role for the armed forces in his national address last week, and Congress has indicated it will take up the issue this autumn. Though the topic has emerged at other troubled times - most recently 9/11 - Congress has always avoided amending Posse Comitatus, the law that has kept active-duty soldiers out of civilian law-enforcement affairs since Reconstruction.

Anger over the scenes of chaos in New Orleans in the days after the hurricane, however, seems to have shifted the political landscape. It is an issue of profound importance both to the Pentagon and to the country at large, raising questions about the boundaries between the armed forces and American society - as well as the military's ability to press the war on terror abroad if it receives a new homeland mission.

"There's a strong historical precedent against doing this," says Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution here. "But now we've got a real reason."

The difference is the scope of the destruction and the dire results of the delayed response, scholars say. During previous disasters, local responders were able to help many victims, while others were able to manage without power or shelter. Katrina, however, completely incapacitated local first-responders, and in the days before help arrived, New Orleans was beset by anarchy.

As officials look at what went wrong - and wonder what to do if a future disaster similarly eviscerates local responders - their attention has turned to the military. Clearly, the armed forces are best prepared to deploy quickly to devastated areas, bringing not only a clear command structure, but an array of resources ideally suited for difficult work - from mobile communication systems to troops trained for the most taxing conditions. In his Thursday address, Mr. Bush called the armed forces "the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice."

As of yet, he has simply stated that "a challenge on this scale requires ... a broader role for the armed forces." Yet even before Bush's address, Sen. John Warner (R) of Virginia wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying that the Senate Armed Services Committee would be looking into "the entire legal framework governing a President's power to use the regular armed forces to restore public order in ... a large-scale, protracted emergency" - and asking Mr. Rumsfeld to do the same.

This framework rests on Posse Comitatus as well as the Insurrection Act, which together bar active-duty troops from engaging in domestic law-enforcement activities, unless there is essentially an open rebellion.

Reservations about granting the military too much power at home are older than the republic itself, harking back to days when British soldiers were foisted upon colonials for room and board. In the Constitution, the framers made specific provision to check military power by declaring that America's armed forces be directed by civilian authority - namely, the various secretaries of Defense.

Posse Comitatus goes even further, giving only National Guard units the authority to act as law enforcement, because they are under the control of governors. Active-duty troops are being used in the Gulf relief efforts but only for humanitarian efforts and logistical support. The move to amend Posse Comitatus would likely give them law-enforcement powers.

Yet the military has traditionally been among the strongest opponents, wary of any move that would take training time or money away from its fundamental mission: preparing for and waging war.

"If you create within the Department of Defense a primary mission to respond to these sorts of events, you're creating a huge additional burden," says retired Maj. Gen. Bruce Lawlor of the Joint Task Force - Civil Support. "The focus begins to shift, and that's not good."

Moreover, it would call upon soldiers to retask themselves, both mentally and physically, for a different mission. Still, some analysts suggest that rescue missions like the one in New Orleans actually dovetail well with the new face of war - the peacekeeping and nation-building going on in Iraq.

But General Lawlor disagrees. "There is an advantage to the warrior ethos," he says. "Working counterinsurgency is a lot different from bringing aid and relief to people who are in distress."

He suggests that the lesson of Katrina was a lack of leadership at all levels: Emergency-response planners had everything they needed, he says, but they did a poor job of organizing it.

How significantly the military will be impacted by any effort to further incorporate it into disaster response will depend on the shape of future proposals. But the first step would likely be the amending of Posse Comitatus, and civil libertarians, too, worry that any change - however small - could be rash and misguided.

After 9/11, "the government immediately leapt to the conclusion that there was a lack of power," so it passed the Patriot Act, says Timothy Edgar of the American Civil Liberties Union, suggesting that a revised Posse Comitatus could give the military a keyhole to greater power down the road. "Changing the law in a way that threatens civil liberties isn't the answer to a problem of management."
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Old 09-19-05, 08:45 AM   #2
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He's in a catch 22. He gets blamed for slow federal response to Katrina, so he'll propose to change the laws. Now he'll get blamed for proposing such a fascist idea.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Posse Comitatus laws
Hey, as long as they're consenting adults.....
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Old 09-19-05, 08:52 AM   #4
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Whatever they do, please don't have a kneejerk reaction like the Patriot Act after 9/11.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
This framework rests on Posse Comitatus as well as the Insurrection Act, which together bar active-duty troops from engaging in domestic law-enforcement activities, unless there is essentially an open rebellion.
We should keep it.
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Old 09-19-05, 09:23 AM   #6
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First, soldiers make bad police officers. That's not what they are trained to do.

Second, we have soldiers specifically for this - the National Guard. So what if they are under the control of the governor? Maybe if we'd stop sending them overseas and instead increase the size of our regular Army (if and when necessary), this would be less of a problem.

I have no problem with the authorization of the use of military equipment and personnel for humanitarian purposes such as SAR, supply delivery, etc. Law enforcement is another matter.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duran
First, soldiers make bad police officers. That's not what they are trained to do.
Nonsense. They're great at enforcing martial law.

It's not good that the military is now seen and used as a para-police force. With our forces heavily committed in two regions and lightly committed in several others, is it any surprise that Iran and North Korea are both acting up? Our threats are looking superficial and idle.

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Old 09-19-05, 04:24 PM   #8
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I think there needs to be some changes.

They should be able to do law enforcement in extreme crises like the situation in New Orleans where it's pretty much total anarchy and the local law enforcement in incapable of getting it under control in a timely manner.

It would have to be very carefully written with the circumstances it's appropriate clearly defined, which would not be an easy task.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:33 PM   #9
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Unless we want them to kill, break, and take over, leave the military out of it.

Dammit, Bush is pissing me off!
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Old 09-19-05, 04:34 PM   #10
classicman2
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MPs are pretty good at enforcing laws.

I doubt that a light-weapons infantryman has the necessary training to do the job very effectively.

I know I would have been a terrible policeman in Vietnam.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
They should be able to do law enforcement in extreme crises like the situation in New Orleans where it's pretty much total anarchy and the local law enforcement in incapable of getting it under control in a timely manner.
I think they would have ended up killing people. It is a no-win situation when you have the military doing this kind of thing on our own soil.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:38 PM   #12
sfsdfd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman2
MPs are pretty good at enforcing laws.
I think they're very good at detaining and imprisoning people. I think they're poor at investigation and due process.

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Old 09-19-05, 04:52 PM   #13
classicman2
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I disagree.

I believe the CID is a very effective investigative organization within the army.

I'll also argue that the military does as good a job in protecting due process rights of individual than their civilian counterparts.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvrdave
I think they would have ended up killing people. It is a no-win situation when you have the military doing this kind of thing on our own soil.
Quite possibly, but the world would be better off without some of those people who were looting, raping people, etc.
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Old 09-19-05, 05:05 PM   #15
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MPs are good at enforcing the UCMJ.

I question whether they would be good at enforcing civilian law.
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