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How the Bush administration is eroding Posse Comitatus

How the Bush administration is eroding Posse Comitatus
How the Bush administration is eroding Posse Comitatus

William Arkin has an excellent new blog on 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 
United States.

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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