Monday, December 1, 2008

The Rule of Law: or whatever

News is coming out of Washington today that likely will slip under the radar, but which should be of major concern to anyone who still maintains quaint notions about personal liberty, freedom and the rule of law. As noted on Drudge, with the oh so cute title "Passe Comitatus Act," MSNBC is reporting that the Pentagon has plans to deploy 20,000 uniformed soldiers within the United States to "help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe."

Now, I may not have finished law school while pursuing my PhD in astrophysics at Cal Tech, so while I may not technically be a lawyer, I am a Julliard-trained rocket scientist. What's my point? Great question. Point is, there is a 130 year old federal statute -- the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 -- that expressly forbids the United States military from engaging in domestic law enforcement activities. Just another example of the Bush Administration using the omnipresent threat of "terrorism" to bend, suspend and outright ignore binding and longstanding federal law. Every time we allow them to do this, we lose a bit of ourselves. Federal law prohibiting torturing prisoners? No problem, it's to fight terror so it's ok. Federal law prohibiting warrantless wire-taps? No problem, war on terror. Federal law prohibiting holding prisoner without charges? No problem, war on terror. Federal law prohibiting the federal government from using the U.S. military to engage in domestic law enforcement? No problem, war on terror.


Warm Apple Pie said...

Don't fret - look how great martial law worked out in "The Siege" starring Bruce Willis (except for that innocent guy they tortured, then executed. But I mean, come on! - he had a funny-sounding arabic name. Honest mistake).

Warm Apple Pie said...

Had to get you the exact line, Jack-K, from General William Devereux from The Siege:

"The Army is a broad sword, not a scalpel. Trust me, senator - you do not want the Army in an American city."