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Saturday, December 13, 2008
YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK
Posted: December 13, 2008
12:20 am Eastern By Bob Unruh
New rules published in the Federal Register would allow certain civilians to call American soldiers into action inside the U.S. to prevent environmental damage or respond to “special events” and “other domestic activities.”
The alarming warning is contained in proposed rules published last week for the Department of Defense’s “Defense Support of Civil Authorities” plan.
Under the U.S. Constitution, soldiers inside the country essentially are tasked with the responsibility of quelling “insurrections” and repelling invasions as well as making sure each state has access to the republican form of government.
But the new rules go far beyond that, essentially establishing a plan to activate the U.S. military inside the country to deal with social issues under provisions that appear to be devoid of any connection to the Constitution, according to an expert.
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“I think the thing that’s of concern with respect to this set of rules is it appears to have no constitutional foundation, no reference whatsoever of any constitutional structure. It’s totally missing,” said Herb Titus, a onetime candidate for vice president for the Constitution Party and a longtime constitutional professor.
Titus, whose biography includes teaching at five different American Bar Association-approved law schools and service as founding dean of the College of Law and Government at Regent University, reviewed the federal proposal at WND’s request.
The multi-page plan is to establish policies and assign responsibilities “regarding military support for civilian law enforcement.”
The plan states, “This proposed rule will allow civil authorities access to the correct procedures when they are seeking assistance from the Department by establishing updated policy guidance and assigning the correct responsibilities within the Department for the Defense for support of civil authorities in response to requests for assistance for domestic emergencies, designated law enforcement support, special events, and other domestic activities.
Titus, who has testified before Congress on constitutional issues and is authorized to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and a long list of federal court districts, said, “All of this is based on the assumption that government was created for the purpose of preventing things from happening in our lives.”
A plain reading of the law, he said, would allow drastically different actions than what Americans probably expect.
“Instead of prosecuting somebody charged with murder, we should profile people who are likely to commit murder, round them up and prevent them from endangering lives,” he said, citing the plan’s apparent permission for the government to restrain liberties when there is concern about potential damages or injury.
A contact at the Department of Defense did not return a WND call requesting comment on the proposal.
But the plan itself says the person calling for soldiers’ actions could be either a military official or civilian leader. And it renews questions about Barack Obama’s stated plans for a National Civilian Security Force that is at least as powerful and well-funded as the U.S. military.
Even Obama’s new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, says there will be a mandatory “force” for Americans.
“If you’re worried about, are you going to have to do 50 jumping jacks, the answer is yes,” Emanuel told a reporter who was podcasting for the New York Daily News.
That proposal, however, was changed suddenly after a flurry of blogs protested children being drafted into Obama’s proposal. The new wording reads, “President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in under served schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps.
WND previously reported on a video of a marching squad of Obama youth.
Obama, meanwhile, also has yet to clarify what he meant during his July “Call to Service” speech in Colorado Springs in which he insisted the U.S. “cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set” and needs a “civilian national security force.”
A video of his comments is here:
Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND, used his daily column first to raise the issue and then to elevate it with a call to all reporters to start asking questions about it.
“If we’re going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn’t this rather a big deal?” Farah wrote. “I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?
“Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that? If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?” Farah wrote.
The Obama campaign has declined to respond to WND questions on the issue.
The newly proposed Department of Defense rules leave a virtually wide open door for what could be cited as a reason for military intervention.
It defines “Imminently Serious Conditions” as “Emergency conditions in which, in the judgment of a military commander or responsible DoD civilian official, immediate and possibly serious danger threatens the public and prompt action is needed to save lives, to safeguard public health or safety, or to prevent or mitigate great property or environmental damage.”
Repeatedly the rules cite “special events.”
“Special event support to non-governmental organizations is a DSCA activity,” it states under policy issues.
That, Titus contemplated, could even be a Democratic National Convention in Denver.
He said it’s important to keep the foundations of the nation in mind and that many of the principles of justice and government for America were derived from the pulpits of the 1700s.
“If you go back and look at Romans 13, the civil government was authorized to punish evil doing, not to prevent it from happening,” Titus said.
The new proposal specifically states it applies to a “potential or actual domestic crisis” and even confirms that conditions not always will allow “prior authority” before “action is necessary for effective response.”
“All this is really designed to do is legitimize by rule essentially a broader discretionary power,” Titus said.
It also reverses the role of the boss, he said, because of the repeated references to a situation “manager.”
“It’s the image that’s being created. A manager. You’re supposed to do what the manager tells you. Contrast that with civil authorities who are our servants. They’re supposed to do what we want them to do,” he said.
Many state constitutions were specific in that area, he noted. Virginia’s, for example, declared that all powers derive from the people, and in Pennsylvania the constitution specifically reserved the right to regulate police to the people.
Although many would argue such military occupation of the U.S. would be reserved only for such “emergencies,” the Washington Post reported just a few days ago on plans by the U.S. military to have 20,000 uniformed troops stationed inside the U.S. by 2011.
The plan has been lauded by some in the Bush administration and Congress as a reasonable response to the threat of terrorism, despite concerns over how it would undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that restricts the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.
At word of the plan, the ACLU warned of expansions in “presidential and military authority,” while the Cato Institute called it a case of “creeping militarization,” according to the Post.
Gene Healy, Cato vice president, told the newspaper, “There’s a notion that whenever there’s an important problem, that the thing to do is to call in the boys in green … and that’s at odds with our long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the peace.”
The DoD says it will accept comments on the proposal until Feb. 2 at the federal government’s link.
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.
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