Who’s Watching the Watchmen

by Ryan on December 1, 2008

in Politics,War on Terror

We are. 

Or at least we should be, especially on days when news of a Pentagon plan to deploy 20,000 US troops for a “domestic response” comes to light. 

I see two areas of concern:

1.  New security threats. Do they know something that we don’t about the vulnerability of our nuclear power plants and storage facilities to be floating this now?  This idea is not a new one, and has been pushed by members of the Bush Administration for years.  Yet, it’s also unnerving that this concept is getting so much play as The One is about to take control.  If the deployed soldiers start wearing “Blue Shirts” and go around neighborhoods speaking about “civic renewal” I’m buying my own gun.

2.  It’s not legal.  The Posse Comitatus Act states that the military cannot be used as a police force in times of peace.  However, the 2001 Resolution Authorizating of the Use of Force is remarkably vague on domestic presidential powers since 9/11, and it doesn’t expire when The One takes office either.

I’m not happy with this move, obviously, since it seems to be coming down on us very abruptly.  I’m all for a 24-style CTU (Jack Bauer’s Counter-Terrorism Unit) organization where we have rapid-response teams in place ready to react near our vulnerable sites or big cities, but if this means the end of Posse Comitatus protections, a very unsettling precedent of executive power blurring the line between civilian and federal security forces in the everyday lives of Americans would be made at a time when the fear of an attack has diminished substantially since 9/11:  the timing is off which inspires suspicion.

Nonetheless we’re in a bind here:  if we do this there’s the libertarian argument against executive overbearance, but if we don’t do this and an attack occurs, demands for more severe action would have political consensus and things could be much much worse.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris December 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Can’t say that I support this one. Looks like an attempt to give Obama what he wants in terms of a Domestic Defense force, but in this case, they will be military, as opposed to civilian.

Speaking of 24, I am very excited about this season! I thought the prequel movie last week was excellent and what I read about the upcoming season, in a way, scares me as events that may take place very closely align Obama’s thinking. Hopefully it will act as an outlet to awake the zombies.

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Ken December 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm

The question I ask myself is, why would we need 20,000 troops to do the job of FEMA in a CBRNE? The D.O.E., FBI, and CIA are already proactive in preventing these events from happening at home but if one happens, FEMA takes over. Every state has their own Emergency Management Agency as well which, during a disaster or mass causuality event, does not use the military unless requested by the state’s governor. I know this because I was working in part with the RIEMA (Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency) during The Station nightclub fire. EMS, fire, police, hospitals, extended care facilities, department of transportation, and state officials all executed the emergency action plan perfectly accordingly to its design. The National Guard was not used. I realize that this was only one type of event and each event may require different resources, but again, we already have systems in place that accommodate for this. I agree with your concerns Ryan. I also question, are there new, unknown, or illusionary threats that would convince americans, or congress, to support this expansion of presidential power and the increase of military usage at the state level which can violate the Posse Comitatus Act? Why now? We shall see.

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