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Is Posse Comitatus good for US?

Do you think Posse Comitatus is good for the country?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 6 54.5%
  • No.

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Yes (with restrictions on use).

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    11

Billo_Really

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Do you think the US military or contract Mercenaries should engage in police activities on US soil? Up until now, Posse Comitatus has prevented the US military from policing actions within our borders. Is this a good thing? Or does local, state and federal law enforcement agencies need the help?

Blackwater Down
by JEREMY SCAHILL [from the October 10, 2005 issue][the Nation]

The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior US diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene in another devastated Gulf. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. Officially, the company boasted of its forces "join[ing] the hurricane relief effort." But its men on the ground told a different story.

Some patrolled the streets in SUVs with tinted windows and the Blackwater logo splashed on the back; others sped around the French Quarter in an unmarked car with no license plates. They congregated on the corner of St. James and Bourbon in front of a bar called 711, where Blackwater was establishing a makeshift headquarters. From the balcony above the bar, several Blackwater guys cleared out what had apparently been someone's apartment. They threw mattresses, clothes, shoes and other household items from the balcony to the street below. They draped an American flag from the balcony's railing. More than a dozen troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stood in formation on the street watching the action.

Armed men shuffled in and out of the building as a handful told stories of their past experiences in Iraq. "I worked the security detail of both Bremer and Negroponte," said one of the Blackwater guys, referring to the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer, and former US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte. Another complained, while talking on his cell phone, that he was getting only $350 a day plus his per diem. "When they told me New Orleans, I said, 'What country is that in?'" he said. He wore his company ID around his neck in a case with the phrase Operation Iraqi Freedom printed on it.

When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, "We're on contract with the Department of Homeland Security." Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, "He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary." The man then held up the gold Louisiana law enforcement badge he wore around his neck. Blackwater spokesperson Anne Duke also said the company has a letter from Louisiana officials authorizing its forces to carry loaded weapons.

"This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal."

One might ask, given the enormous presence in New Orleans of National Guard, US Army, US Border Patrol, local police from around the country and practically every other government agency with badges, why private security companies are needed, particularly to guard federal projects. "It strikes me...that that may not be the best use of money," said Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

With President Bush using the Katrina disaster to try to repeal Posse Comitatus (the ban on using US troops in domestic law enforcement) and Blackwater and other security firms clearly initiating a push to install their paramilitaries on US soil, the war is coming home in yet another ominous way. As one Blackwater mercenary said, "This is a trend. You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."


http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051010/scahill
 
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The U.S. military should never be used on our home soil save for times of national emergencies like Katrina and New Orleans when it is absolutely necessary because the military is the only organization with the capability of solving such serious problems. Military as a police force no, Military as a humanitarian agency yes. When Clinton used the military against citizens of this country he violated one of our most important laws and such abuse of power should never happen again.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by Trajan Octavian Titus
The U.S. military should never be used on our home soil save for times of national emergencies like Katrina and New Orleans when it is absolutely necessary because the military is the only organization with the capability of solving such serious problems. Military as a police force no, Military as a humanitarian agency yes. When Clinton used the military against citizens of this country he violated one of our most important laws and such abuse of power should never happen again.
When did he [Clinton] do that?
 

Diogenes

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
The U.S. military should never be used on our home soil save for times of national emergencies like Katrina and New Orleans when it is absolutely necessary because the military is the only organization with the capability of solving such serious problems. Military as a police force no, Military as a humanitarian agency yes. When Clinton used the military against citizens of this country he violated one of our most important laws and such abuse of power should never happen again.
Agreed completely. The military is not a good candidate for police work because they are not trained to read Miranda rights to suspects; their job is to find the enemy and kill him. The military is effective in relief efforts because (a) they have had a lot of practice in getting the right supplies to the right people in quick time, and (b) subordinates do not make a practice of questioning orders.

Posse Comitatus is to ensure that the federal military doesn't come into a situation unless invited by the governor; the only exception is when the president declares an insurrection, such as John Kennedy did in order to integrate the southern schools. Clinton finessed the issue, sort of, when the FBI "borrowed" armored vehicles from Fort Hood (commanded at that time by Gen. Weasely Clark, as I recall) and treated us to the sight of American tanks on American soil assaulting American citizens in their own homes at Waco. The question of who was actually driving the vehicles has never been established to my satisfaction.
 

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Billo_Really said:
Do you think the US military or contract Mercenaries should engage in police activities on US soil? Up until now, Posse Comitatus has prevented the US military from policing actions within our borders. Is this a good thing? Or does local, state and federal law enforcement agencies need the help?
Keep the military in the barracks and out of the affairs of American citizens. The military can easily be turned to violate the personal and property rights of American citizens. Our forefathers fought against this sort of thing.
 

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Billo_Really said:
When did he [Clinton] do that?
During the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, over ten thousand U.S. troops were deployed.
 

C.J.

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TimmyBoy said:
Our forefathers fought against this sort of thing.
Wonder why they didn't put in the Constitution????
 

TimmyBoy

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C.J. said:
Wonder why they didn't put in the Constitution????
That was the reason they put the second amendment into the constitution. Was a check against large standing armies. Hell, they had just finished fighting off the abuses of one large standing army from the British Empire, why would they create the same problem all over again?
 

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The amendments that the forefathers put into the constitution were to right British wrongs that were committed upon the colonists. Their was strong suscipicion of large standing armies after the American Revolutionary War, so they instituted the second amendment.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
The U.S. military should never be used on our home soil save for times of national emergencies like Katrina and New Orleans when it is absolutely necessary because the military is the only organization with the capability of solving such serious problems. Military as a police force no, Military as a humanitarian agency yes. When Clinton used the military against citizens of this country he violated one of our most important laws and such abuse of power should never happen again.
Questions.

Why not address this action in New Orleans directly rather than bringing Bill Clinton into it?

Is it wrong to have armed mercenaries enforcing the law on the streets of New Orleans? Your reply doesn't make it clear how you feel.

If Waco were a houseful of armed left-wing communists, I don't think conservatives would have too much of a problem with Bush sending in the troops. Am I right in saying this?

Give me one good reason why Bill Clinton and Janet Reno would send in troops to intentionally kill a houseful of people.

If David Koresh was so innocently righteous, why didn't he send out the women and children "in his care" in the first days of the stand-off?

We live in a world where cops can shoot an innocent man over 50 times and claim ignorance. Why is what happened in Waco such an outrageous abuse of power?

Oops, I think I voted wrong. In that Posse Comitatus prevents the use of the military in a law enforcement capacity on our streets, I vote yes. I want to be sure I understand the question though.
 
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C.J.

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Diogenes said:
Posse Comitatus is to ensure that the federal military doesn't come into a situation unless invited by the governor; the only exception is when the president declares an insurrection, such as John Kennedy did in order to integrate the southern schools.
Actually there are more exceptions. Since Posse Comitatus is a statutory creation, not a constitutional prohibition it can and has been diluted and circumvented over the years by subsequent legislation. For instance the Stafford Act allows federal troops to be used in times of natural disaster, and Civil Disturbance Statutes, allows for their use when requested by a state, or a state is unable to protect it's citizens and property. Congress has the power to make exceptions at their will. Let's also not forget the constitutional power of the president and our homeland defense.

Posse Comitatus does not disallow the use of the military in supportive rolls to civilian law enforcement. For instance, intelligence gathering and supplying equipment is fine, but searches, arrests, and evidence seizure are not.

The penalties for violation of the act are relatively small compared to the potential damage done by violations of the act or subsequent laws.
 

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C.J. said:
Actually there are more exceptions. Since Posse Comitatus is a statutory creation, not a constitutional prohibition it can and has been diluted and circumvented over the years by subsequent legislation. For instance the Stafford Act allows federal troops to be used in times of natural disaster, and Civil Disturbance Statutes, allows for their use when requested by a state, or a state is unable to protect it's citizens and property. Congress has the power to make exceptions at their will. Let's also not forget the constitutional power of the president and our homeland defense.

Posse Comitatus does not disallow the use of the military in supportive rolls to civilian law enforcement. For instance, intelligence gathering and supplying equipment is fine, but searches, arrests, and evidence seizure are not.

The penalties for violation of the act are relatively small compared to the potential damage done by violations of the act or subsequent laws.
Generally, I like to study the law. One of those laws that I happenned to study was the Sedition Act. Sometimes called the "alien and sedition act." It was a law passed in World War I, just as the US was gearing up to enter the war. It is still in effect today. The law makes it a crime to advocate the overthrow of the federal government. This curious repeal of Thomas Jefferson's assertion that citizens are OBLIGATED to revolt at any time the government becomes repressive or burdensome has been consistently used by the FBI to "justify" some of their oppressive activities. If it is anybody that is "subversive" it is those crooks in government. They have done more to destroy freedom, in the name of freedom than anybody I have ever seen. Orwell calls this doublethink. I don't think the American people deserve freedom at all. I think the only Americans who deserve freedom were the founding fathers of this nation. Americans are cowards these days and have no balls.
 
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mixedmedia said:
Questions.

Why not address this action in New Orleans directly rather than bringing Bill Clinton into it?
Because it was legal when Bush did it with the permission from the Governor and illegal when Clinton did it not to mention that it is a totally different situation one was using troops to kill U.S. civilians and the other is to help with the rescue ops. Ever hear of compare and contrast the subject is the use of troops on U.S. soil one right and one wrong.

mixedmedia said:
Is it wrong to have armed mercenaries enforcing the law on the streets of New Orleans? Your reply doesn't make it clear how you feel.
No not in a state of emergency but the Branch Davidians were Isolated and contained and posed no direct danger to the public at large.

mixedmedia said:
If Waco were a houseful of armed left-wing communists, I don't think conservatives would have too much of a problem with Bush sending in the troops. Am I right in saying this?
No you're not.

mixedmedia said:
Give me one good reason why Bill Clinton and Janet Reno would send in troops to intentionally kill a houseful of people.
Because they wanted the situation ended I don't believe that they set out to kill anyone but it happened regardless.

mixedmedia said:
If David Koresh was so innocently righteous, why didn't he send out the women and children "in his care" in the first days of the stand-off?
I'm not defending David Koresh I'm stating a fact that it was an illegal use of the U.S. armed forces against American civilians.

mixedmedia said:
We live in a world where cops can shoot an innocent man over 50 times and claim ignorance. Why is what happened in Waco such an outrageous abuse of power?
Two totally different situations.
 
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TimmyBoy said:
If it is anybody that is "subversive" it is those crooks in government. They have done more to destroy freedom, in the name of freedom than anybody I have ever seen.
That deserves a double Amen.

Amen, Amen!

And the sad thing is that only those in government have the ability to do so. Of course they get help, from us! They couldn't do it without us, and we even get to pay for it.
 

mixedmedia

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Because it was legal when Bush did it with the permission from the Governor and illegal when Clinton did it not to mention that it is a totally different situation one was using troops to kill U.S. civilians and the other is to help with the rescue ops. Ever hear of compare and contrast the subject is the use of troops on U.S. soil one right and one wrong.



No not in a state of emergency but the Branch Davidians were Isolated and contained and posed no direct danger to the public at large.



No you're not.



Because they wanted the situation ended I don't believe that they set out to kill anyone but it happened regardless.



I'm not defending David Koresh I'm stating a fact that it was an illegal use of the U.S. armed forces against American civilians.



Two totally different situations.
So it's only the technicalities that bother you? So if a similar situation, armed civilians (with their legally owned guns, of course) holed up in a house in New Orleans, were to evolve resulting in the deaths of a houseful of people, some innocent, it would be okay with you because it is "legal"?

I'm not trying to argue the use of military or any other federal government forces in US civilian law enforcement capacities. I am against it. It just irks me to no end that this present day, here and now subject cannot even be discussed by those on the right without bringing up Bill Clinton.
 
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mixedmedia said:
So it's only the technicalities that bother you? So if a similar situation, armed civilians (with their legally owned guns, of course) holed up in a house in New Orleans, were to evolve resulting in the deaths of a houseful of people, some innocent, it would be okay with you because it is "legal"?

I'm not trying to argue the use of military or any other federal government forces in US civilian law enforcement capacities. I am against it. It just irks me to no end that this present day, here and now subject cannot even be discussed by those on the right without bringing up Bill Clinton.
You mean in a conversation about the President using military personnel against U.S. civilians I'm not allowed to bring up a president who did it? Are you serious? You just can't get over the fact that your hero isn't the person you think he is. How bout this if you quit telling me how good Clinton was and how bad Bush is I'll quit telling the truth.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
You mean in a conversation about the President using military personnel against U.S. civilians I'm not allowed to bring up a president who did it? Are you serious? You just can't get over the fact that your hero isn't the person you think he is. How bout this if you quit telling me how good Clinton was and how bad Bush is I'll quit telling the truth.
Where and when have I told you any such things? You are the one making these distinctions.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
You mean in a conversation about the President using military personnel against U.S. civilians I'm not allowed to bring up a president who did it? Are you serious? You just can't get over the fact that your hero isn't the person you think he is. How bout this if you quit telling me how good Clinton was and how bad Bush is I'll quit telling the truth.
And as you so keenly pointed out earlier, these people were brought in by the governor, not the president.
 
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mixedmedia said:
And as you so keenly pointed out earlier, these people were brought in by the governor, not the president.
The governor didn't give permission in Waco and using troops for humanitarian aid isn't even in the same ball park as using them to kill U.S. civilians
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
The governor didn't give permission in Waco and using troops for humanitarian aid isn't even in the same ball park as using them to kill U.S. civilians
So Blackwater is there to provide humanitarian aid? Give me a break. And you didn't address my question. What if they kill people they deem dangerous? Are they justified because they have the permission of the governor?
 
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mixedmedia said:
So Blackwater is there to provide humanitarian aid? Give me a break. And you didn't address my question. What if they kill people they deem dangerous? Are they justified because they have the permission of the governor?
If they're taking fire they should be able to defend themselves but like I said before Waco and the New Orleans flood are two totally different scenarios, I've made my position perfectly clear I support the use of troops on our soil when it is done for humanitarian purposes because there is no other force capable of handling such a huge disaster as Katrina, however, the same cannot be said for Waco, there was no reason why the National Guard should have been used in that situation and was only done so that Clinton could save face. There's a difference b/w using your troops to save lives and using them to take lives Clinton did the latter.
 

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C.J. said:
Actually there are more exceptions. Since Posse Comitatus is a statutory creation, not a constitutional prohibition it can and has been diluted and circumvented over the years by subsequent legislation. For instance the Stafford Act allows federal troops to be used in times of natural disaster, and Civil Disturbance Statutes, allows for their use when requested by a state, or a state is unable to protect it's citizens and property. Congress has the power to make exceptions at their will. Let's also not forget the constitutional power of the president and our homeland defense.

Posse Comitatus does not disallow the use of the military in supportive rolls to civilian law enforcement. For instance, intelligence gathering and supplying equipment is fine, but searches, arrests, and evidence seizure are not.

The penalties for violation of the act are relatively small compared to the potential damage done by violations of the act or subsequent laws.
I agree with much of what you say. As I understand it, Posse Comitatus is to prevent the feds from barging in uninvited, shoving the local government aside, and taking over the whole show. Stafford and Civil Disturbance formalize this by specifying that the state will make the request and, as you say, are to operate in a supportive role to the local governments.

Those who think the feds should have taken a more active role earlier on should reflect that that would mean shoving the mayor and governor aside a couple of days ahead of time in order to start a mandatory evacuation and commandeer the city bus fleet to move the poorer occupants out. That would spark a very large protest, and (IMO) with very good reason. In New Orleans it would have been justified, but most of us would be nervous about the feds taking over a nanny role to protect us from the incompetence of our local elected government.

There was a marvelous exchange during the hearings today, when Brown commented that Louisiana hadn't appointed a replacement for the departed state director of emergency management.
Q: "Wait a minute! What happened to the guy that was there before?"
A: "He was indicted."

And thereby hangs a tale.
 

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mixedmedia said:
So Blackwater is there to provide humanitarian aid? Give me a break. And you didn't address my question. What if they kill people they deem dangerous? Are they justified because they have the permission of the governor?
Blackwater was there to provide security for the property of their employers, I presume up to and including the shooting of looters. (One of the hotels was raided by looters; they left the food and water, but did quite a number on the liquor. Shooting them comes under the heading of "civic improvement.")

The governor was irrelevant when she exercised no control (one of the reasons we have a Second Amendment), and as far as I know she remains ineffective and irrelevant.
 
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