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Repealing Posse Comitatus Would Mean Iraq Here at Home

By Dave Lindorff

George Bush has become a classic Johnny One Note: If there's a problem, call out the troops.

That, of course, was his response to 9/11.

It was his belated response to the flooding of New Orleans too, you may recall. The first thing the president did when he finally left off his vacation and returned from his fund-raising event, was to get M-16-armed troops (and, apparently, Blackwater mercenaries with even heavier weaponry) into the city to start shooting to kill people who were desperately trying to survive.

Now, confronted with the lowest public support figures of his (or almost any) presidency, this singularly detached and inept president is proposing that Congress repeal the 127-year-old Posse Comitatus Act so that the Pentagon can send active duty troops into domestic crisis zones without even so much as an executive order.

Presumably the folks who came up with this horrible idea (it's got Karl Rove’s greasy fingerprints all over it), figure that this plays to Bush's "strength"--the carefully tended myth that this drug-and–alcohol addled Vietnam-era National Guard AWOL somehow knows how to be tough and to use military "assets".

Lord knows where this idea gets its legs. He certainly hasn't displayed any particular military leadership skills in his handling of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which surely will become (like Hitler's decisions not to invade Britain and to invade Russia) classic case studies in what not to do in military schools from the Virginia Military Institute to West Point for decades to come. But be that as it may, we should be doubly concerned about this very bad idea.

First of all, why would anyone want people who were trained to shoot off everything they've got in a 360-degree radius whenever they sense danger being sent into American neighborhoods to rescue people or to restore order? American troops have been firing off an average of 90,000 rounds of ammunition per soldier in Iraq, and at best they've killed maybe a few thousand insurgents (that would be one insurgent per 250 U.S. soldiers, or looked at another way, one insurgent per 22.5 million shells). Clearly these guys are not good at shooting enemies. What they have been pretty good at, unfortunately, is killing innocents. Hey, nobody’s counting (the U.S. occupation authorities won’t let anyone count), but the estimates for civilian deaths in Iraq caused largely by American forces range somewhere between 25,000 and 125,000--most likely the latter.

Are these the kind of guys you want coming into your neighborhood when you have a flood or a tornado?

I think not.

Then there's the matter of our basic rights.

Remember those? No illegal search and seizure. No billeting of troops in homes. Freedom of speech and assembly. All those sacred Constitutionally-protected rights went down the toilet when Bush's troops rolled into New Orleans. And that is what we can expect to see become routinized if this latest Bush/Rove scheme gets the nod from Congress.

Beyond that, one thing that has distinguished the U.S. from much of the rest of the world, and that has helped to preserve what democracy we have in this country, is that the army has remained very professional and removed from politics. There has not been a military coup in the U.S. since the country's founding, and many military leaders thankfully have a strong distaste for involving the uniformed forces in that kind of thing.

That said, during the Nixon and Reagan administrations, there were well-documented plans developed (with names like Operation Garden Plot, and Rex Alpha) for establishing martial law in the nation, or in parts of the nation--something that it appears has also been going on in the bowels of the White House and the Pentagon during this president's two terms.

The Posse Comitatus Act makes establishing military rule much harder to do. It gives those military officers who might want to resist martial law orders something to hang on to.

That bar to using the armed forces domestically should not be lightly tossed out just because of one example of incompetence by the White House and Homeland Security.


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Never has it been said better...

...the carefully tended myth that this drug-and–alcohol addled Vietnam-era National Guard AWOL somehow knows how to be tough and to use military "assets"....

Any sane and rational individual should be asking a simple question of themselves after reading this post. Why would a president of the United States feel the pressing need to repeal this law which has been on the books for well over a century? Why now? For what purpose?

Is this an attempt at the "coup de grace"? Bush finally murdering what is left of the Constitution? to what will the militarization of this nation lead. If you voted for Bush, was this the result you expected. He certainly did not campaign on this development as part of his platform.

Will the rubber stamp Repiblican Congress push this repeal through? That is anyone's guess. Any member of the Congress who has a license to practice law had better line up against this repeal. To favor it is a clear and direct violation of our oath as attorneys.

It is hagh time that partisan politics is reigned in and replaced by statesmanship. There is still time for the democrats in the Senate to show some balls and to block Roberts from the Court. I've said it before and I'm saying it now, you can't trust the nominee of a criminal like Bush. Especially one who refuses to answer any pointed questions.

Repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act, combined with the use of mercenaries like Blackwater and the recent high court support for the president's unilateral, arbitrary and unappealable power to imprison citizens indefinitely without trial or any legal recourse whatever, means the effective death of U.S. constitutional protections.

At the same time, on the international front, the AIPAC-PNAC plans are proceeding apace to precipitatate another war in the Middle East that will make the Iraq fiasco seem like the "cakewalk" advertised by its promoters. Under U.S. pressure, the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, officially signed Iran's death-warrant last weekend.

Last, but far from least, the entire economy is rapidly running out of breathing space. The U.S. dollar is facing the immenent loss of its world reserve currency status. When (not if) that happens, costs and interest rates will soar, and profits, living standards, equity values, bond prices and real estate will plummet.

In other words, folks, total disaster is staring you in the face and time is not on your side. Revolution or sucession from the empire, take your pick. But if you don't take some radical action very soon, you're gonna find yourselves with no freedom to act at all.

China will own us. No one will own property when they are through with us. The only ones who will make it are the Neocons, 'cause they have money; made off the backs of the Fallen Soldiers whom they sent to protect their "spoils". Wake up MUST revolt or sucede. You honestly have no other choice. These corrupt assholes have already years ago monopolized the Congress, and infected all levels of government. They rely on the "faith" of the blind, ie right winged Christians to carry out their egoistic agenda. If something radical does not happen...WE ARE DOOMED!!

Some of us have been saying this for over thirty years now. Glad a few more voices are joining. Droping out of the "union" may be the only card we have left to play.

Yeah, I know. Are you, by any chance, from Vermont? :^)

I've been advocating a second American Revolution, but I've more or less reached the conclusion that there's not sufficent revolutionary spirit remaining in the U.S. today. So it now seems to me that secession, as proposed in the Middlebury Declaration, may be the only viable alternative.

Since there is no valid reason for an American administration to repeal the venerable Posse Comitatus Act, the Bush Administration went to great lengths to create one. The so-called incompetence of the Feds on Katrina was a deliberate exercise in calculated murder, designed to "shock and awe" the public into accepting such a drastic measure! Americans have been deeply fooled by this ghoulish administration since 9/11. The 9/11 attacks being just another government exercise in calculated murder, intended to deceive, and derange, the American people! The deception of 9/11 was so effective, most Americans are still sold on the Harry Potter-like fantasy of Osama Bin Laden, knocking down the mighty twin towers, with suicide airliners! Since the Bush crime syndicate took office, the truth has become a foreign concept in the U.S. Outright lies have become the "truth" and the real truth, has become "wild conspiracy theory"! Dulled by years of phony politics, and abandoned by a corrupt congress, we've so far, failed miserably to see throught the world-class deception of the Bush Whitehouse. As long as people continue to fall for the diabolical lies of this criminal administration, America will keep on moving toward a bleak Orwellian future!

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