William Arkin has an excellent new blog on WashingtonPost.com that is
excerpted below. (Arkin is the author of a book called Code Names and a
former military analyst, not a Post staff writer.)
He's been posting government reports, for instance, on the menacing
dangers of pressure cookers exploited by terrorists:
Keep reading to see what Arkin has to say about Posse Comitatus. An
article I co-authored years ago on the topic is archived here:
Donald Rumsfeld and his ever growing Industry of Military Complexes
devoted to homeland security and counter-terrorism seem to be
intentionally bad mouthing Posse Comitatus and connecting it to Katrina
in order to earn themselves greater operational flexibility in the
Last week Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita was Rumsfeld's front man
in this effort: According to a September 17 Associated Press story, the
Secretary "is reviewing a wide range of possible changes in the way the
military could be used in domestic emergencies," Di Rita said Friday.
He said these included "possible changes in the relationship between
federal and state military authorities." Di Rita called the Posse
Comitatus Act "very archaic," and stated that it limited the Pentagon's
flexibility in responding.
Amidst all of President Bush's proposals last night was one decree that
the Commander-in-Chief can implement without Congressional or public
intervention: "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires
greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the
institution of our government most capable of massive logistical
operations on a moment's notice."
The President has hit upon a seemingly no-brainer solution: Rely more on
the one institution in our society that is most respected and competent.
The President=92s plan is both wrong-headed and dangerous.
I for one don't want to live in a society where "a moment=92s notice"
justifies military action that either preempts or usurps civil authority.
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