Saturday, March 28, 2009

Regarding Posse Comitatus

The Posse Comitatus Act, a law designed to limit the powers of the United States military on domestic soil, was signed after the Reconstruction period of the Civil War. This law substantially limited the powers of the military for use for domestic law enforcement and other issues; this was done to prevent the occurrence of a "standing army" that would be utilized against its own citizenry.

During the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Barack Hussein Obama promised to create a Civilian Defense Corps, of which he stated,
"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
Manly Rash reports,
Now there is more news of further civilian enhancements to the mission of the U.S. military. (Tricorn Hat Tip to Diogenes for the link)

The war-funding request the Obama administration will send to lawmakers in coming weeks will include monies to begin building an interagency “civilian response corps” to tackle a number of political, economic and developmental tasks in places like Afghanistan, the new Pentagon policy chief says.

Michele Flournoy, recently installed as the undersecretary of defense for policy, said March 27 that the war supplemental will feature “a substantial request for resources on the civilian side” of the federal government.

In comments made during a Brookings Institution-sponsored forum in Washington, Flournoy said the revamped Afghanistan strategy unveiled earlier the same day by President Obama “requires a down payment” on beefing up certain capabilities within non-Defense Department arms of the federal government.

She did not say where in the executive branch the corps would be placed, but recommended it not be in the military. She did not disclose a specific dollar amount or a number of how many civilians would be needed to fill out the envisioned response corps, and declined to speak to reporters following the event.

THAT is troubling, but not entirely surprising, given the 60+ day track record of deception, prevarication, equivocation and outright secrecy displayed by an administration that vowed to be “the most open and ethical in history.”

Carlos Pascul of Brookings - who has held key posts at the National Security Council, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development - said the Obama administration should create a 250-person civilian team to carry out the so-called “three Ds” in places where U.S. assistance is needed. Those Ds are diplomacy, developmental and defense.

Flournoy said the civilian team will be crucial because she sees a higher probability in coming years that the military “will be asked to prevent a war than fight a war.”

Pascul said the U.S. government should resist placing the new corps under DoD, even though it might make funding easier.

The Editors at the Washington Examiner headlined and explained their take on this story thusly (emphases added):
Expanded Americorps has an authoritarian feel

By Examiner Editorial
- 3/26/09

With almost no public attention, both chambers of Congress in the past week advanced an alarming expansion of the Americorps national service plan, with the number of federally funded community service job increasing from 75,000 to 250,000 at a cost of $5.7 billion. Lurking behind the feel-good rhetoric spouted by the measure’s advocates is a bill that on closer inspection reveals multiple provisions that together create a strong odor of creepy authoritarianism.


To begin with, the legislation threatens the voluntary nature of Americorps by calling for consideration of “a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people.” It anticipates the possibility of requiring “all individuals in the United States” to perform such service – including elementary school students. The bill also summons up unsettling memories of World War II-era paramilitary groups by saying the new program should “combine the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service,” while establishing “campuses” that serve as “operational headquarters,” complete with “superintendents” and “uniforms” for all participants. It allows for the elimination of all age restrictions in order to involve Americans at all stages of life. And it calls for creation of “a permanent cadre” in a “National Community Civilian Corps.”

But that’s not all. The bill also calls for “youth engagement zones” in which “service learning” is “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.” This updated form of voluntary community service is also to be “integrated into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula” at all levels of schooling. Sounds like a government curriculum for government approved “service learning,” which is nothing less than indoctrination.
So, is this supposed 250-person "civilian defense team," going to be Obama's "end-around" of the Posse Comitatus Act that will domestically achieve the 'One's' "security objectives" he has in mind?