Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sorry - Another "Not Funny"

There is an article on Raw Story about the use of Federal troops for routine police business (directing traffic) in Samson, Alabama after a mass murder shooting.

According to Raw Story the Army is investigating whether proper authorization was obtained and whether protocol was followed prior to federal troops being deployed within our domestic borders.

The concern seems to be that the Posse Comitatus Act prohibiting the use of troops within the US was violated.

If only that were the real issue.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was essentially voided by the Bush Administration in 2006.

In that year the Insurrection Act [10 U.S.C.331 -335) was susperceded by the passage of Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) which allows the President to declare a "public emergency" (to be defined by the Executive without Congressional approval) allowing the President to take control of state troops (without a Governor's approval) and to deploy federal troops within domestic borders to contain “public disorder” (again to be defined by the Executive alone)*

The sad fact is that once power is ceded to the Executive Branch, the Executive - no matter who the occupant or which party the occupier- is loath to give it back.

Whether proper protocols were followed in the use of federal troops within our domestic borders recently as in the case of Samson. Alabama is a fairly minor point.

The much larger issue is that this option is now legal.

*See also, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "The Use of Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues," by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, August 14, 2006)


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