There used to be more intelligence in any General
of the US Army than all politicians combined.
Could that still hold?
Maybe this is is actually a good idea.
Our Republic, which we have *not* managed to keep,
despite B. Franklin's warnings, is nothing more than
a cesspool of corruption, from President down to dogcatcher.
The Supreme Court takes entirely too long to corrrct
that damage caused by coruption of the elected raptors.
The people of the USA are nothing more than cash cows
for government, and there is no sign that things will
Install military rule. Annihilte Congress.
Scratch the constitution and start over.
At this point I could even tell them where the fundamental
mistkes are - if they actually ask.
January 28, 1999
Pentagon Seeks Command for Emergencies in U.S.
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and JUDITH MILLER
The Pentagon has decided to ask President Clinton for the power to
appoint a military leader for the continental United States because
of what it sees as a growing threat of major terrorist strikes on
American soil, Defense Department officials say.
The plan calls for the military leader to be ready, if necessary,
to do such things as order thousands of doctors, stretchers and
emergency personnel quickly sent to stricken areas, much as
American commanders abroad are now prepared to do.
The Pentagon, which currently has no organization for such crisis
work, has quietly discussed the plan for about a year and recently
decided to press ahead and ask for Presidential approval.
Top White House officials have reacted favorably, characterizing
the proposed step as a relatively minor adjustment of the lines of
military authority and organization.
But civil libertarians and some Administration officials fear that
such military power could slowly expand to threaten the privacy,
liberty and lives of private citizens. Defenders of the plan,
including Pentagon officials, insist that it would do no such thing
and that the nation needed homeland defense to deal with terrorists
armed with deadly germs, chemicals and skills for attacking the
nation's key computer networks.
Military officials added that they had no intention of usurping
"Our only appropriate role is in support of civil agencies that
have the primary responsibility for law and order and emergency
response," John J. Hamre, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said in
Still, a senior Pentagon official, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity, warned that a major terrorist attack had the potential
to be "the most threatening event to civil liberties since Pearl
His reference was to how, after Japan's attack on the United States
in World War II, the American military locked up some 120,000
Americans of Japanese ancestry, an act some historians have
characterized as reckless. The official said the current plan would
help prevent such an overreaction.
The official said Defense Secretary William S. Cohen had recently
signed off on a plan to create a Joint Task Force for Civil
Support, whose commander would develop ways for the Army, Navy,
Marines and Air Force to aid Federal agencies in time of domestic
The step requires approval by the President. In an interview on
Jan. 21 with The New York Times, Clinton said he was carefully
weighing the issue and was deeply aware of the potential abuses of
expanded military power. And the next day, in unveiling his $10
billion program to build up antiterror defenses, he emphasized the
importance of protecting personal freedom.
"It is essential," Clinton told Federal officials and military
officers gathered at the National Academy of Sciences, "that we
don't undermine liberty in the name of liberty."
Many Americans have a deep mistrust of the military. That
uneasiness is evident in "The Siege," a recent movie in which
terrorist attacks prompt martial law in New York City and the Army
general in charge turns out to be a loose cannon.
Allusions to the Pentagon's new organizational plan emerged quietly
last year when Dr. Hamre of the Defense Department gave a speech
saying the appointment of a domestic military leader was all but
inevitable and would be essential in helping stave off chaos.
"If there's a bona fide chemical attack in the subway system in New
York, it's going to quickly go beyond what the local police can
handle," Dr. Hamre told military officials. "If there is a
biological attack, you can easily see regional governors calling
out the National Guard to quarantine the highways. It could get
crazy very fast."
Critics of the plan say the risks of military help outweigh the
"The danger is in the inevitable expansion of that authority so the
military gets involved in things like arresting people and
investigating crimes," said Gregory T. Nojeim, legislative counsel
on national security for the American Civil Liberties Union, based
Soldiers are trained to kill, not to respect the nuances of law
enforcement, Nojeim added.
"It's hard to believe that a soldier with a suspect in the sights
of his M-1 tank is well positioned to protect that person's civil
liberties," he said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nojeim said, already has the
money, authority and manpower to handle such crises.
But Fred C. Iklé, an Under Secretary of Defense in the Reagan
Administration, applauded finding ways for the military to deal
better with terrorism on American soil.
"Only the armed services have the managerial and logistical
capabilities to mount the all-out defensive effort," Dr. Iklé said
in a report on homeland defense being prepared for the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, a private policy group in
By law, the military cannot make arrests or act in civil law
enforcement. The Posse Comitatus Act, passed after the Civil War to
rein in the military, bars Federal troops from doing police work
within United States borders.
The division of powers that bars the military from domestic law
enforcement is similar to that between the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. The former does
surveillance work at home and the latter abroad.
Though venerable, the dominance of civil power under posse
comitatus (Latin for "power of the country") has seen a growing
number of exceptions. One, widely viewed as having mixed results,
concerns drug interdiction. Nojeim of the A.C.L.U. said that in
1997 that exception resulted in death when troops in Texas
accidentally shot a teen-age to death.
Former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, who specializes in national
security issues, said another exception became law in the Reagan
Administration when Congress permitted posse comitatus to be waived
in the event of nuclear terrorism.
Congress later widened the exception, Nunn added. After the Soviet
Union fell apart and Western experts grew worried about the
possible spread of powerful weapons into unfriendly hands, he
helped sponsor a little-noticed provision that gives the Pentagon
power to step in domestically in the event of chemical and germ
"They already have the authority," Nunn said of the armed services
in an interview.
The new question, he said, is whether the services will become
properly organized and trained and their actions well coordinated
in advance of any mayhem.
A senior Pentagon official, who spoke on the condition on
anonymity, cast examples of the domestic work in strictly
humanitarian terms. Only the military services, the official said,
have the ability to transport 3,000 hospital cots, tons of clean
water or "10,000 people who have been inoculated against anthrax"
to the site of a biological attack where civilians are sick, dead
"The issue is how we organize ourselves to provide meaningful
support and not to threaten civil liberties," the official said.
In the aid work, he added, the Pentagon would report to the
Department of Justice, which has the lead not only in law
enforcement but in coordinating the domestic response to terrorism.
The official said the joint task force recently endorsed by Cohen
would, if approved by the President, have a high-level commander.
He and other Pentagon officials said the new post would probably go
to the United States Atlantic Command, which is based in Norfolk,
Formal presentation of the plan to the White House might not occur
for months, and a Presidential decision might not be made public
until late summer, Pentagon officials said.
In his recent interview with The Times, Clinton said he was keeping
an open mind on the subject and called the issue of the military's
role "the last big kind of organizational piece" in strengthening
the nation's defenses against new kinds of terrorism.
"What I want us to do," he said, "is everything within reason we
can to minimize our exposure and risks here, and that's how I'm
going to evaluate this Pentagon recommendation."
Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company
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Created: February 28, 1999
Last Updated: February 28, 1999