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DC, media pushing greater military control for "safety" reasons

Keep a very watchful eye peeled for those who will try to use the response to Katrina to grab more power for the Office of the President and for the military. The President was never intended to be as central a figure as he is now, and restrictions on the use of the military inside the U.S. have been in place for well over a hundred years.

The latest attempt to gain more power is described in "Bush Told U.S. Needs Post-Disaster Plan":
Bush got an update about the federal hurricane response from military leaders at Randolph Air Force Base. He heard from Lt. Gen. Robert Clark, joint military task force commander for Hurricane Rita, and Maj. Gen. John White, a task force member, who noted confusion in search and rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina.

With Katrina, "we knew the coordination piece was a problem," White said. "With Rita, we had the benefit of time. We may not have that time in an earthquake scenario or similar incident."

"With a national plan, we'll have a quick jump-start and an opportunity to save more people," White said.
Needless to say, Bush said he welcomed their input and will discuss it in Washington.

And, from the earlier "Military May Play Bigger Relief Role":
President Bush's push to give the military a bigger role in responding to major disasters like Hurricane Katrina could lead to a loosening of legal limits on the use of federal troops on U.S. soil.

...Bush did not define the wider role he envisions for the military…

[Pentagon spokesman Lawrence] Di Rita said Rumsfeld has not made recommendations to Bush, but among the issues he is examining is the viability of the Posse Comitatus Act. Di Rita called it one of the "very archaic laws" from a different era in U.S. history that limits the Pentagon's flexibility in responding to 21st century domestic crises.

Another such law, Di Rita said, is the Civil War-era Insurrection Act...
Both Sen. John Warner, R-Va and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld are in favor of reevaluating these "very archaic laws".

Key military help for victims of Hurricane Katrina was delayed reveals that Bush had all the powers he needed to deal with the hurricane, he (apparently) just failed to understand what powers he had. And, "DOD: No New Rules Needed" has more along those lines.

This latest attempt is a bit of a flashback: Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) said that he'd support allowing American soldiers to arrest American civilians back in 2002. And, from that same year, see "Northern Command General Endorses Posse Comitatus Review".

For that small number of people who would trust Bush with more powers, I'd suggest applying the President Hillary Clinton test in this case. In the case of disasters on the scale of Katrina, the thing to do is to make sure that the states and localities are prepared.

Politics · Sun, 09/25/2005 - 15:34 · Importance: 1