Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dodging Bullets? Using the US Military for Domestic Terrorism

Apparently, the Bush Administration considered using the US military for domestic policing in the aftermath of 9/11. I am trying to figure out if it was a good thing that they refrained from trying or not.

Sure, it would be a major breech of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and all that I have read in civil-military relations suggests that involving armed forces in domestic problems harms both the society and the military. But this could have been the bridge too far for the Administration and a likely backlash might have tamed their worst instincts. Well, probably not since the Bush folks tended not to have much of a learning curve.

It does appear to be Condi Rice's finest moment, as she opposed this effort, and this incident does indicate that Cheney was not the puppet-master as he has often been portrayed. Of course, Cheney was on the "wrong" side of this--not a surprise--but that Bush went the other way is somewhat instructive.

It is also not surprising that those engaged in this debate apparently never consulted the folks in uniform. This might have been the point at which General Richard Myers, who largely caved into Rumsfeld, might have pushed back.

Lots of fun speculation, but I am quite glad that some people were able to withstand the fear-mongering and avoid this dangerous path.

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