anywhere, anytime, and for any reason he chooses

I logged the post which appears below this one before I had read this piece by Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation. I might have saved myself the outrage.

It seems that there can no longer be any argument about the legitimacy of our occupying army. The president in fact now has sufficient legal authority to use the military anywhere inside the country whenever he determines that doing so is appropriate, just as he can anywhere outside the U.S.

Gene Healy of the libertarian Cato Institute is concerned.

It does weird things to our political culture when we start getting used to armed troops on the streets, that we find that comforting. It makes the United States start looking like we're not a democracy.

. . . .

The specter of the military patrolling streets, making arrests and conducting house-to-house searches is exactly what civil libertarians fear. [Timothy Edgar, legislative counsel for the ACLU's Washington office] cites the case of José Padilla, an alleged would-be terrorist who is an American citizen, who was seized by the military and held incommunicado. "The notion that the US military could march into your home and cart you off to the brig is a frightening one," Edgar says. "Before the incarceration of Padilla, it was inconceivable." According to the ACLU, the Posse Comitatus law is so weakened now that there is very little to prevent the armed forces from carrying out arrests, setting up roadblocks and performing search-and-seizure sweeps. And the Pentagon agrees. "Whether military personnel will have the authority to detain individuals or be given arrest authority depends upon the specific facts of each case," says [Pentagon spokesman Maj. Ted] Wadsworth.

What this means is that while Americans now have the remarkable freedom to destroy their own world and that of the rest of humanity, they have lost the freedom to govern themselves.

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Published on May 11, 2003 10:22 PM.

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