Having already wrecked a legendary American city, Hurricane Katrina may now be invoked to undermine a fundamental principle of American law;.that principle, enshrined in the Posse Comitatus Act, is that when it comes to domestic policing, the military should be a last resort, not a first responder...For my highly similar take, see DC, media pushing greater military control for "safety" reasons.
[...Bush's speech, John Warner, "very archaic law",...]
...What [Posse Comitatus] does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role. That reflects America's traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that's well-justified.
There are very good reasons to resist any push toward domestic militarization. As one federal court has explained, "military personnel must be trained to operate under circumstances where the protection of constitutional freedoms cannot receive the consideration needed in order to assure their preservation. The Posse Comitatus statute is intended to meet that danger." Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, commander of the federal troops helping out in New Orleans, seemed to recognize that danger when he ordered his soldiers to keep their guns pointed down: "This isn't Iraq," he growled...
...The Katrina tragedy ought to be an occasion for rethinking a number of federal policies, including our promiscuous use of the Guard abroad. Instead, Washington seems poised to embrace further centralization and militarization at home. That has the makings of a policy disaster that would dwarf Hurricane Katrina.
Politics · Tue, 09/27/2005 - 05:39 · Importance: 1