01 December 2008

Excuse Me, Mr. Officer... or "How exactly do you object to an M-16?"

The Pentagon is planning to deploy 20,000 DOMESTIC MILITARY POLICE.

What could possibly go wrong?

(For the record, Hubby is a member of the National Guard; they're for defense, not for policing, and while I trust him and his associates, I sure don't trust a heavy-handed government with even more local power.)

(And chalk another one up for what I call "Glenn Beck's Early News!")

[h/t: Drudge]


Jennifer Dunn said...

Oh, you really are having a bad day! (Assuming you are like me, and consider it a bad day when there are SO many things to write about!)

its just me said...

I actually think this might be a not so bad idea. Now I know how things can be intended for one thing and turn into something else; but Kannie I'm wondering where do you live. Most major cities in America can use the additional help to reduce crime then regular citizens can take back their streets and neighborhoods.

I would love to see the military clean up some of these streets in America. The local police are either outnumbered or too corrupt to do anything. If used correctly, I think this could be a good direction for America.

kannie said...

I live in Boise. This metro area has its own issues, but it's nothing like LA, Chicago, or NYC, thank goodness.

First, using a federal military police force within the country is forbidden by the Posse Comitatus Act. Using federal troops for law enforcement, then, is not only illegal, but, IMHO, a complete abuse of power. And once the federal government has a power, they do NOT give it back. So... while we might think Bush and Obama will be okay with it and not abuse the power, (which I don't, necessarily - Bush has done a lot of things under the table that I think are shady at best: putting efforts into the SPP and diminishing US sovereignty, for example), eventually we will have someone who is attracted to absolute domestic political power that's backed up by big guns. And what do we do then? A military that turns on its own people is the right hand of every dictator in history. It might sound far-fetched, but internment camps are already old news in this country, as well as confiscation of non-criminal firearms in Hurricane Katrina aftermath (complete with knocking down an elderly woman for her heirloom revolver, which they broke); and it doesn't take much of a stretch in a likely crisis situation (obviously "likely" because of this military build-up) to see it happening again. (And we're having conniptions about Gitmo...? ;-)

Second, not that I'm overly concerned with criminals' feelings beyond the point of practicality, but with the anti-police sentiment that already exists in a lot of cities, can you imagine the disaffection that would happen if the government set the military loose somewhere? It would turn into urban warfare in a hurry - very nasty, and very uncivilized - and it would only escalate as public outrage grew.

I understand the feeling of wanting to just clean up high-crime areas, but I don't think it's a good idea to break an existing law in order to federalize law enforcement. If the local governments need a bigger police force, they should be able to do it. If I feel threatened, I'd pay higher taxes to my local government to fund greater police efforts. (On that tangent, I think part of the problem is also that high-crime areas tend to be low-income, so they aren't actually *paying* taxes, so there's very little to use to fund the needed law enforcement... that's a generalized observation at this point, and I can't quote any specifics, but it's a sensible, possible correlation... what are your thoughts on that?)

Aside from the illegality of it, though, your caveat phrase is the key: "if used correctly." I'm not sure whether we could trust the federal government to do that and then back off... part of me thinks so, because soldiers are individuals and citizens with hearts and brains, as well - and I dare say a better grasp of the Constitution than average,... but the part of me that remembers past civil (and unalienable) rights violations thinks that enough of them would "go with the flow" to make martial law itself a "clear and present danger."

its just me said...

Great points Kannie. The Posse Comitatus Act was created in 1878 to end Reconstruction after a terrible election and war. Without the troops in the Confederates states at the end of the Civil War, more African-Americans would have been lynched and tortured like that which occurred after they were removed.

So that law was written for a very different time period in America. I do share your concerns about the government getting power and never giving it back. Dictatorships have risen in history that way but in most cases, it is one class/tribe against another. America is a big melting pot and although I do believe a class system exists in America and around the world, our army is too diverse to turn its own citizens.

The Posse Comitatus Act has the ability to be overturned by Congress if they see fit, therefore it would not be illegal or unlawful.

I also share the concerns of someone coming along in American history that will be obsessed with power but I also think our great constitution with all its checks and balances prevents that.
We the People for the People by the People. I will not say that something like that will not happen but I will say that I hope it does not, yet anything is possible.

There is a lot of resentment against the police in most cities. The police are caught up in a "catch 22" in most cases. They have to serve and protect and make wave for politics, which hinders them from doing their jobs affectively. Community policing was once a good idea but crime and America has changed so much. That bank robbery in LA a few years back was the indicator of that. The police had to go into a local gun shop and borrow guns just to compete with the bank robbers. One bad officer can spoil a whole bunch. And after coming to work for years and years to see the same crimes committed over and over, and the judicial system giving them a slap over the wrist if anything, I am sure the officers have resentment also towards some of the people in the communities they police. America has changed and due to many of America's past ills, politics towards crime and criminals is lagging behind.

Your generalized observation also makes a great point. Low-income areas are your high crime areas, but the taxes paid by those that actually work and live in those areas are just as high as the average middle class or middle-middle class should I say thanks to the Bush tax cuts. Some people who live in low-income areas are what we call the working poor. Due to poor decision making, bad credit, failed marriages or no to low education they are forced to live in areas where they can afford the rent based on their incomes. And speaking of Katrina, Katrina ripped the mask off the working poor in America living in pure poverty.

Kannie I also think it has to do with our own life experiences and perspectives. I live in Virginia (in the city area) and crime here is pretty bad. It's nothing like major cities because population is very small, but for our population our crime is bad. I have a teenage son, a stepson and two teen cousins who are males and I worry and pray for them everyday. They go to school with the worry of being shot and/or gang violence and a party or dance is out of the question. There are a lot of social ills that are self-inflicted in some communities but I think it goes uncensored unless something major happens and it makes the news or major news. It is not going away, it’s only getting worst.

Due to my concerns for the welfare of my boys due to crime, drugs and parents not being parents, I would like to see America's streets cleaned of criminal, illegals that commit crimes and anyone else who tries to disrupt someone's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Sorry for being so long winded but I love our conversations.


Jennifer Dunn said...

I enjoy your conversations as well. I'm learning a lot.

kannie said...

It's Just Me -

I appreciate your points! I think what my objections boil down to, is that when people need a problem solved, the most common knee-jerk reaction is to give the feds power to do something about it, and I don't think that's Constitutional, let alone right. Local governments - composed of local citizens - could honestly get it done, (especially if the feds got out of their way), either through streamlining the established channels, or by taking volunteer turns policing the areas themselves.

I think we have become, more or less, a kind of "hand-off" society now, where we've become accustomed to not dealing with many problems ourselves. We're so disconnected - we pay money for neatly packaged vegetable and meat products, and we pay money so that "the government" will help those struggling around us. More community involvement could go a long way toward not only resolving the problems, but softening the animosity between law enforcement and the rest of the populace. If we police ourselves, we won't need external forces to police us (individually or collectively).

Another point is that while these troops are being positioned for emergency response in case of an external attack (meaning an attacker who originates outside of the US and gets inside), how happy will the citizens be with having troops around waiting for an attack? Do you think that preventive measures (checkpoints, communications monitoring) wouldn't eventually be taken, even with the citizens' encouragement? Or what would happen afterwards? Pre-emptive confinement? Curfews? Martial law? And what from there?

While these troops aren't being stationed to fight the people, it could very easily turn into that in the chaotic aftermath of an attack.

I know that sounds paranoid, and it offends a lot of military people, but it's happened all over - German SS *citizens* turned against each other; Italian police *citizens* turned against each other; Russian Bolshevik *citizens* turned against each other. Even in our own Civil War, *citizens* turned against each other, either to free people or to keep them subservient. I sure hope that we're made of different (but even sturdier) cloth now...

Carissa said...

Kannie- Hey, we are a guard family too! And I completely agree with you that this is a BAD BAD move. A few good history lessons should make us very uncomfortable with the idea.

It's just me- You said you aren't concerned about a president gaining too much power because of the constitution's checks and balances. Are you familiar with Directive 51?

its just me said...

Carissa, I didn't say that I was not concerned with a president gaining too much power. I just think that our checks and balances within our constitution and our government would prevent that.

History is a good teacher. In most countries that have dictatorships or where dictatorships have developed, it is part of their ancient history. Many of those countries are ancient in history and were developed during a time when one person was expected to rule over a class/tribe of people. Royalty or devine right is what they call/called it. America was founded on totally different principals. The New World. I think it was called that for several reasons.

Please enlighten me on Directive 51.

Carissa said...

America was founded on correct principles but principles only survive when people vigilantly uphold them. Human nature is universal regardless of culture or tradition.

I sincerely hope you are right that our constitution will prevent any unlawful power grabs. But remember, the constitution only works when the people (citizens and elected officials) respect it enough to abide by it.

Feel free to do your own research on 51, I have sick kids to tend to. Thanks for the chat.