Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Will The Military Become The Police?

Will the real Uncle Sam please stand up ...
Your immediate reaction to the title of this post is probably "only a crack pot conspiracy theorist would think that could happen in the United States."

Which would be a very healthy reaction, because that is the way it should be, but it would be erroneous because that is the law now.

Today, in Lockett v New Orleans, a case on appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from a federal district court, some shocking statements are made.

But even more shocking is what is not said in the case, either by the court, or by the litigants:
In July of 2008, Lockett was driving in his vehicle to a class at the Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO). At the same time, two military police officers, Jonathan Bieber and Brandt Arceneaux, were conducting patrol in the area as members of the National Guard Task Force assisting the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) with law enforcement duties pursuant to an order issued by Governor Jindal after Hurricane Katrina. Bieber and Arceneaux observed Lockett’s vehicle and believed it to be traveling over the speed limit. Based on this observation, the defendants effectuated a traffic stop of Lockett.
(Lockett, [PDF version], emphasis added). The lawsuit was filed because Mr. Lockett said the soldiers made racial statements and hurt him.

None of the people involved in this case, the federal district court judge, the appellate judges, nor the litigants saw anything wrong with this picture except that the soldiers were alleged to be too harsh.



Posse Comitatus:
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
(18 U.S.C. § 1385). Republican ("anti big government") Governor Jindal did just that because he had ordered the military police to do the domestic police work in certain areas of his state, contrary to our traditional notions of posse comitatus.

Why didn't the litigants or the judges question this ... are we now beaten down so much that we do not question anything the government does?

Well, the posse comitatus law was changed by Bush II and his minions:
On September 26, 2006, President Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that U.S. armed forces could restore public order and enforce laws in the aftermath of a natural disaster, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


The President may employ the armed forces ... to ... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition ... the President determines that ... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order ... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such ... a condition ... so hinders the execution of the laws ... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law ... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
(Wikipedia). What Bush II did was ignore those damaged by what he had ordered the government not to do (make the levies safe), then when they became outraged at not being helped, he sent the troops to keep them under control.

But why didn't the judges or the litigants question whether the draconian big brother measures congress had authorized could constitutionally allow soldiers to give speeding tickets and arrest citizens?

Or why didn't the judges or the litigants question whether the draconian big brother measures congress had authorized the president to do would apply to governors of states?

Does it boil down to warlords of the world have become criminally insane and the populace has become criminally compliant?

The next post in this series is here.


  1. Part of this wave is no doubt due to budget cuts at all levels. Military budgets are largely off limits and to a larger extent are fixed, in that salaries are paid either way (for active duty anyway, NG and Reserve need to be activated, but once activated, the same principle applies), regardless of the services provided. As you say, the military also enjoys "most glorified" status now due to the ceaseless efforts of MOMCOM, and challenging that status will get you labeled a "communist traitor" or worse almost instantly. I read another article on this subject yesterday as well, but once again, I think this represents a hollowing out of the rest of government more than anything else. The question is, does this represent an overt militarization of the US, and, indeed, could it spell a likely future military coup in the face of an increasingly divided and incompetent government? As wild and crazy as all that sounds, I'm really not sure the military could possibly do any worse than what we've got right now.

  2. disaffected,

    It would be the last disaster for the United States of America, bringing on the United States of Fascism.

    And yes, it would be orders of magnitude worse than it is now.

    What do you think of the case?

  3. One of the reasons for the Declaration of Independence, which established our nation, was because the King was elevating the military over the civilians.

    Independence From What?

  4. The case is of course a shame, and it represents the current thinking regarding the military perfectly. Fascism? Already here my friend. Started in 1980 with the Reagan Revolution, and has progressed unchecked ever since. Actually accelerated under first Clinton, and now Obama.

    The reasons I think a military coup might in some way be beneficial are that: 1.) Most military leaders are in fact more sensitive to the implications of such a move than the current bunch of idiot civilians and would be likely to take steps to minimize its impact on civil liberties 2.) The military would presumably not be hamstrung in its decision making by the myriad of special interests that currently hold sway over Washington and might actually enact more enlightened foreign (especially) and domestic policy, and 3.) The military is still a volunteer force. If it got out of hand, a large number of those volunteers could be counted on to defect very quickly.

    A military coup would still be a very risky proposition indeed and would represent nothing less than a total game changer in world politics; but all in all, I'm not sure I don't trust the current civilian leadership even less. Either way, I won't be surprised at all to see a military takeover by 2020, as I speculated in my essay a few months back.

  5. disaffected,

    You are certainly at odds with the words of wisdom from General Eisenhower and the 4th President James Madison.

    Our current military is said to encourage wholesale slaughter of civilians according to members of the military.

    They are responsible primarily for dragging down the economy, and they are consummate propagandists.

    The civilian members of government are pikers at evil when compared to the military members of government.

  6. One of the reasons for the Declaration of Independence, which established our nation, was because the King was elevating the military over the civilians.

    All very true. And yes, we've very nearly become the very thing we originally rebelled against. Sadly, that's how all revolutions eventually go. We've held out longer than most.

    But, if a military coup eventually comes, it won't be because the miliitary continually lobbied for more power so that it could take over and run the civilian sector; rather, it will be because the civilian sector either willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, purposely or unpurposely ceded its own power to the military, for specific reasons yet unknown (but more than likely to effect a police state that will safeguard the aristrocratic class from the lower 95-99% of the population).

    Watch how Greece and the EU goes over the summer. That's our future in a nutshell, although we'll likely be many times worse, as the wave of sovereign defaults is just getting started, and by the time it gets to us it will be a full fledged conflagration.

  7. You are certainly at odds with the words of wisdom from General Eisenhower and the 4th President James Madison.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for a military takeover whatsoever. I do think, however, that it's growing increasingly likely by the day simply because our civilian leadership is so blatantly corrupt and inefficient.

    You have to also remember that the military doesn't act as a block either. Service rivalries alone would mean that any prospective takeover would be contentious internally from the start.

    That said, I think we'd be surprised to find that a military junta might be even less inclined to use military force - at least initially - than their civilian counterparts, as most of the civilian aristocracy have no idea what they're doing whatsoever in that regard.

    Unfortunately, any military leaders unfortunate enough to be put into power would immediately begin to morph into political animals as well, influenced by the same corrosive forces at work already. It wouldn't be long before it was business as usual again, and probably a good deal worse at that.

    As the proverb says, "there's nothing new under the sun." All of this has been played out in other countries and times before. The range of possible outcomes are for the most part predictable and almost universally bad. Nevertheless, I envision it coming to a locale near you and I relatively soon. The alternative is the current ongoing and building mess, and I simply see no way whatsoever that can continue.

  8. disaffected,

    Good, I was afraid we had lost you. Your point about the good guys in the military being at odds with the bad guys is well taken.

    I wish the good guys would stop retiring or whatever and stay in there for awhile to help protect the nation as long as possible.

    As to the case in the courts, the subject of the post, I think Gov. Jindal committed a felony by doing what he did.

    The second post points out some of the details.

  9. Jindal's a worm. Even his own party despises him. To paraphrase the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, "You can't trust or support someone who licks your boots."

  10. Some folks do not understand "any part of the Army or the Air Force", but any part has a clear meaning, "any" means any and "part" means part.

    Like the national guard of every state is a part of the Army.

    Big Brother has conditioned the populace, including M.S. Levinson, to believe the Priests of Pentagonia, capitol of Bullshitistan.

  11. The Louisiana National Guard (or any other state militia) can be called upon to assist in law enforcement activities. National Guard units are organizationally separate from the official American military. And there is a long history of deploying the national guard at the request of the governor. Look back at Kent St when the governor of Ohio, submitting to Nixon, deployed the Ohio National Guard to the campus of Kent St. With horrific results none the less, but that deployment is legal and within the purview of the governor of that state.

    Any State's National Guard is legally NOT the same as regular military.

  12. dan-in-pa,

    "The National Guard of the United States is administered by the National Guard Bureau, which is a joint activity under the Department of Defense ... The National Guard Bureau is headed by the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB), who is a four-star general in the Army or Air Force."

    The uniform doesn't make the man. Doublespeak does not change reality.

    For example, Dick Cheney openly advocates waterboarding, declaring it not to be torture, but rather he declares that it is "enhanced interrogation techniques".

    That Cheney doublespeak does not make it so.