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New military unit for domestic deployment Cohen says Americans should 'welcome' troops on home soil
By Jon E. Dougherty ) 1999 WorldNetDaily.com
Critics are denouncing recent congressional changes to the Posse Comitatus Act that will allow a broader use of U.S. military forces in a domestic law enforcement role including a new unit for deployment in assisting civilian officers during a terrorist attack. The new command, established Oct. 7 in Norfolk, Va., will be called the U.S. Joint Forces Command, and replaces the former U.S. Atlantic Command. At a ceremony commemorating the new unit, Defense Secretary William Cohen told participants the American people shouldn't fear the potential of seeing U.S. military forces on the streets of U.S. cities.
The military must "deal with the threats we are most likely to face," Cohen told reporters, downplaying concerns about troops operating on home soil. "The American people should not be concerned about it. They should welcome it."
The new command is designed to prepare U.S. troops to fight abroad or to respond if terrorists strike with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
In opposing the measure, critics cite the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits federal troops from participating in domestic law enforcement activities under most circumstances. With the concern over domestic terrorism rising since the World Trade Center bombing and numerous incidences of cyber-attacks on U.S. defense and financial institutions, the Clinton administration has begun to relax some of those restrictions.
In July, WorldNetDaily reported the new measures would end the requirement for local law agencies to reimburse the federal government for any local use of military equipment, as well as enable the Department of Defense to deploy military troops in cases of anticipated or actual terrorist attacks.
Then, David Kopel of the Independence Institute warned that the measures would, if passed, "set (bad) precedents for years to come."
Since the Waco debacle in 1993, when federal law officers and military personnel assaulted a church community resulting in the deaths of over 80 men, women and children, Kopel said the federal government has been "eroding the protections contained in the Posse Comitatus Act." In the past, he told WorldNetDaily, most of the amendments to the original law had been based on bogus drug issues. Now, he said, that issue seems to have shifted to so-called terrorist attacks, or at least the threat of them.
The Defense Department has said only the military has enough equipment to operate in a poisoned environment, or to manage a massive decontamination effort. Secretary Cohen told reporters last week that federal law will not be violated because the military would only respond if requested.
"It is subordinate to civilian control," he said.
But Gregory Nojeim, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., told WorldNetDaily he is concerned about "nightmare scenarios" like those in the recent films, "Enemy of the State" and "The Siege."
"Soldiers are not equipped, by training or temperament, to enforce the laws with proper regard for civil and constitutional rights," he said. "They're trained to kill the enemy."
Nojeim said the ACLU is concerned about "letting loose the most effective fighting force in the history of the world" on American civilians.
Cohen said that the creation of the Joint Forces Command would better coordinate the training of the four armed services. However, history is replete with reasons why some Americans continue to be hesitant about using military troops in a law enforcement capacity.
Besides questions about the Army's Delta Force role during the Waco siege, most recently, in 1997, U.S. Marines assigned to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in combating illegal immigration accidentally shot and killed an 18-year-old goat herder. That force has since been withdrawn and reassigned, but lawmakers have remained committed to expanding the military's civil law enforcement role in other ways.
For example, the military also has been given an expanded role in defending against cyber-terrorism, or assaults on U.S. computer systems. The U.S. Space Command in Colorado will be leading that effort.
Nojeim questioned the need for such an expansion of federal military forces into the domestic law enforcement arena, even though U.S. officials have said the nation is now at greater risk of terrorist attack. He also believes the White House should do a better job of educating the American people about why the changes to the Posse Comitatus law are needed.
"For years the federal government has showered the FBI with hundreds of millions of new dollars to help it combat crimes involving chemical and biological weapons," he told WorldNetDaily. "Taxpayers need to know where that money has gone and why the president now wants to call in the troops."
Addressing the long-term ramifications of the change in military law enforcement policy, Nojeim said, "When the crisis hits, those with the biggest guns will be subordinate to no one."
-- Rainman (Rainman@uhoh.com), October 18, 1999
Am I misreading that last sentence, or is it a declaration of a state of military government when "the crisis" (whatever the heck *that* is) "hits"?
-- Ron Schwarz (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 1999.
A little language difficulty. During the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, a translation difficulty occured. A civilian cop told some military troops to "Cover Me". When one cop tells another cop to "Cover Me", the second cop usually pulls his gun and keeps looking around the area while the first cop knocks on the door, uses his radio, handcuffs the felon, etc.. When the cop told the troops to "Cover Me", during the riots, they promptly fired over 200 rounds into an occupied dwelling. It is a wonder no one was killed, good/bad/innocent. Military people are trained to kill people and destroy things. Trying to use them for any other perpose is usually inefective and can be very dangerous to all concered. My father went through Korea. I went through Vietnam. My son did not go through Somalia, Haiti, or Kosovo and I don't want his younger brother fighting the Second Civil War or American Revolution on either side.
-- rodger young (email@example.com), October 18, 1999.
Y'all need to go HERE and read this poem
It MIGHT resonate with you if'n yore over the age of 35.
-- jes an ol footballer wrapped in his Flag (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 1999.
"Suppose that we let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal: still it would not be going to far to say that the State governments with the people at their side would be able to repel the danger...half a million citizens with arms in their hands" --James Madison, The Federalist Papers
"False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crime."--Cesare Beccaria, quoted by Thomas Jefferson
-- our founding fathers,spinning in their graves (freedom email@example.com), October 18, 1999.
...The military must "deal with the threats we are most likely to face," Cohen told reporters, downplaying concerns about troops operating on home soil. "The American people should not be concerned about it. They should welcome it."
I would welcome it ONLY in a TRUE CRISIS situation where humanitarian assistance is REALLY needed! Like the Floyd flooding in North Carolina, or any upcoming earthquake relief... or even in a HAZMAT/ Biowar clean-up effort.
That said, Im quite bothered by the true intention of Cohen, et. al., and/or last springs Urban Warrior training implications.
OT?: William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense: Preparing For A Grave New World (USIA)
Military Test Exercises For "Urban Warrior" & National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue Web-site
It's only urban warfare training
Heads Up San Antonio, Texas (Urban Warriors Coming Your Way This Week)
Finally! Kingsville Military "Exercise" Makes It Into The Houston Chronicle
Protests In Oakland, California About Scheduled Urban Warrior Exercises
Urban Warrior Exercises In No. California May Face Showdown, or Not < br> http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 000b9U
San Francisco Says No To Marines' High-Tech Exercise
TESTIMONY: DoD Department of Defense Review -- Y2K National Security Ramifications (Hamre: Senate Armed Services Committee 2/24/99)
Navy: DOD Must Balance Y2K Preparation, Public Perception (i.e. Dont Make Panic Waves)
New DoD office to monitor Y2K transition
And a few bonus threads of interest...
!!!Everything We've Uncovered Is True !! FEMA vs Homeland Command < br> http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch- msg.tcl?msg_id=000S8Y
The National Guard, FEMA, and Y2K
US Army Contingency Planning Guide
Help me understand the Navy War College site!
Repost of the Navy War College Transcript: A Must Read.
Synopsis of Naval War College Y2K scenarios...
From the Air Force Magazine
***FIRST DRAFT NAVAL WAR COLLEGE'S FINAL REPORT RE Y2K INTL. SECURITY DIMENSION PROJECT
***NAVAL WAR COLLEGE Y2K NEWS***
What's In Wilmington Delaware? (4-Star Marine Corps General "Retires")
Or just bounce around in the TBY2K Military Threads category...
And dont forget the Military/Pentagon Papers/Hot Topics (New) Threads category...
http:// www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-one-category.tcl?topic= TimeBomb%202000%20%28Y2000%29&category= Military%2fPentagon%20Papers%2fHot%20Topics%20%28New%29
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 1999.
I can always tell Diane's posts before I get anywhere near the bottom!
Wheeew... that's a lot of work - thanks Diane!
-- @ (@@@.@), October 18, 1999.