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Police State vs. Posse Comitatus. (Insider Report).

The Bush administration "has called on Congress to thoroughly review the law that bans the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from participating in arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other police-type activity on U.S. soil," reported the July 21st Washington Post. The law in question is the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which ended the federal occupation and military dictatorships imposed on Southern states in the wake of the Civil War. The Act's intent was to defend Americans against the prospect of a standing army of occupation -- a concern frequently expressed by the framers of the Constitution.

Ruling elites generally amass despotic powers amid agonies of professed reluctance, and homeland security adviser Tom Ridge followed that tradition when addressing the posse comitatus issue in a July 21st television interview. According to Ridge "it goes against our instincts as a country to empower the military with the ability to arrest." Ah, but the Bush administration somehow overcame that instinctive aversion when it filed a legal brief claiming that the president and his military subordinates can designate any individual an "enemy combatant" and detain him indefinitely -- and that such a designation cannot be challenged in court (see the article on page 29).

Speaking to Fox News Sunday on July 21st, Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, expressed approval for the Bush administration's plan, saying that the law "has to be amended, but we're not talking about general police power." This is true: The architects of the emerging garrison state are content, at present, to lay critical foundation stones one at a time.
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Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 12, 2002
Previous Article:British common law under attack. (Insider Report).
Next Article:The "transformational" military. (Insider Report).

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