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INSURRECTION
September 22, 2005 8:08 AM   Subscribe

INSURRECTION Why were American military sent almost instantly when Rita threatens Texas but we were told that they could not be sent to Louisiana till requested? What is the history behind Posse Comitatus? Does the president have the authority just on his say so to send troops into a "sovereign" state? Nice summary of history here.
posted by Postroad (51 comments total)

 
Cause, uh, the cameras are around.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:10 AM on September 22, 2005


Uhhh cuz they learned from the mistake of Katrina?
posted by evilelvis at 8:12 AM on September 22, 2005


Like the article says: The Bush Administration realized after the storm what it should have realized before it.
posted by alumshubby at 8:18 AM on September 22, 2005


What evilelvis said.

What the fug has happened to this site since hurricane season? Sheesh.
posted by dhoyt at 8:18 AM on September 22, 2005


What evilelvis and alumshubby said, with a slight sprinkling of dhoyt's second sentence.
posted by papercake at 8:20 AM on September 22, 2005


See above.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:21 AM on September 22, 2005


For the answer refer to the previous six comments just above this one.
posted by StarForce5 at 8:23 AM on September 22, 2005


What the fug has happened to this site since hurricane season? Sheesh.

Thousands of lives are in ruins, an American city under water, another city bracing for round two....yeah, totally unbelievable that people are even remotely interested in discussing this. and what's with all the talk about Iraq? can't we just have more links to passed out wookiees?
posted by NationalKato at 8:25 AM on September 22, 2005


What Barbara Bush said.
posted by iamck at 8:26 AM on September 22, 2005


What dhoyt and StarForce5 said
posted by Floydd at 8:26 AM on September 22, 2005


Probably because they've learned their lesson from Katrina.

Look, I'm no fan of the current administration, but there's no need to go around and feed a crazed left-wing conspiracy theory. I've already seen headlines and bloggers claiming that the troops are going into Texas because it's Bush Country or because it's predominantly white.

Actually, it's a strategic location (oil, oil, oil) and probably more importantly: they learned their freakin' lesson two weeks ago.
posted by tgrundke at 8:27 AM on September 22, 2005


I assume this is a rhetorical question, right?
posted by spilon at 8:33 AM on September 22, 2005


Actually, it's a strategic location (oil, oil, oil)
posted by tgrundke at 11:27 AM EST on September 22 [!]


So was New Orleans and most of the Louisiana coast, if using the same reasoning.
posted by Rothko at 8:34 AM on September 22, 2005


Let's take a look into an alternate universe, much like our own but with slightly different weather patterns.

Late August: Hurricane Katrina blows westward towards Texas and makes a direct hit on Galveston. The city is pulverized. The Bush administration is caught unawares by a crippled FEMA. Thousands of people displaced, billions of dollars worth of property and infrastructure damaged.

Early-to-Mid September: Public opinion turns against the federal government due to its slow response to the Galveston disaster. Michael Brown is fired. Bush is forced to take some degree of public responsibility, knowing that another city destroyed would cost him any remaining credibility. Federal upper management starts actually watching weather reports.

Late September: Hurricane Rita is making a beeline northward towards New Orleans. In a panic, troops and emergency response teams are mobilized. The city and surrounding areas are evacuated swiftly. New Orleans' famous levees are hastily reinforced. The storm hits, the levees hold, loss of life and property is minimal.

Not even the Bush team is stupid enough to make the same mistake twice in two months.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:34 AM on September 22, 2005


Because George Bush cares about white people.

Also we have no national guard because they are all on duty "protecting" the 51st state. I believe that's the state of DENIAL.

This is all very convenient as Bush's great strength is turning his failures into advantages. This will get the American public used to seeing marines patroling the streets of US cities. It will make it that much easier for him to pull off the almost inevitable military coup in 2008 (any transfer of power will no doubt coincide with a multitude of long overdue investigations of criminal wrongdoing in this administration). You don't think he's going to leave office without a fight do ya?
posted by any major dude at 8:37 AM on September 22, 2005


Intresting article, but it ignores the federal government's inability to do anything, including non-military actions that would not have been in violation of Posse Comitatus
posted by delmoi at 8:38 AM on September 22, 2005


You don't think he's going to leave office without a fight do ya?

I don't know. I can't see the man as much more than a figurehead. Even if he loses the next election, will we be rid of the many new laws that have chipped away at our rights? Will we be free of endless military entanglements? Will our economy be fixed?

The Democrats have been on board with all these awful policies. People keep pushing Hillary, but do they know about her stance on the war?

It is very hard to see what will turn the tide. We've been sliding down a hill, and without a substantial force to counteract that momentum, it seems like we will continue to slide.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:44 AM on September 22, 2005


Why were American military sent almost instantly when Rita threatens Texas but we were told that they could not be sent to Louisiana till requested?

For the same reason we're not invading Iran, Syria, or North Korea.

... and what everyone else said.
posted by mkultra at 8:46 AM on September 22, 2005


Even if he loses the next election

He's ineligimable for a third term.
posted by trondant at 8:51 AM on September 22, 2005


Clinton wasn't all that great for civil liberties either, it's worth pointing out. He was a terrible president in many ways.

The fact that Bush makes him look so damn good is really pretty scary.
posted by Malor at 8:59 AM on September 22, 2005


OT: I always heard that votong couldn't change the system, but what if Bush enacted legislation for a special election that would 'install' him as the leader until such time as the terror alert level would get back to 'Green'?

Ya know, issues like these are just too important to give up to someone without presidental experience...
posted by Balisong at 9:13 AM on September 22, 2005


Er.. Voting
posted by Balisong at 9:14 AM on September 22, 2005


sonofsamiam,

When I speak of "he", I don't be the physical man called George W. Bush, I'm speaking more in terms of the military-industrial hegemony that has overtaken our government. They've wanted this since the day the wall came down in Germany. Free reign to exploit and plunder the resources of any country in the world. This is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity for them, They will never give up this power peacefully. Has there every been a leader of any nation in the world that has been accused of fascism so widely during his tenure only to have history prove it to be false?
posted by any major dude at 9:15 AM on September 22, 2005


Ya know, if you ignore the slightly hysterical tone of the FPP, the article itself is pretty good.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:24 AM on September 22, 2005


any major dude,

Oh, believe me, I'm with you on the creeping fascism tip, although I can't seem to get anyone to discuss it seriously. The kind of rhetoric tossed around in Italy and Greece back in the day could be slid into our own opinion pages, just change the nouns, mad-lib style.

What's the scariest to me is how many adults I know that seem to have abandoned their own good judgement for propaganda. Smart guys (I used to think) who, despite overwhelming evidence that the administration flat-out LIED on the Iraq issue (for instance), will pussyfoot around saying, "well.... I still think it's a good thing...."

These are the same guys who jumped all over Whitewater and the Vince Foster thing. They were so worried about impropriety then, and they seem like they will excuse anything now. The Republican party has turned around and undermined all it's ostensible principles, all except for Party Loyalty. Which is the very definition.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:25 AM on September 22, 2005


i get the same argument with every Bush-supporter i talk with - 'well...at least Saddam is gone.' rape rooms and mass graves play well on the 6 o'clock news, and let's face it: those who support Bush and his fumbled tactics usually aren't digging any deeper than cable news and morning talk radio.
posted by NationalKato at 9:29 AM on September 22, 2005


Just send in Blackwater.
posted by homunculus at 9:40 AM on September 22, 2005


rape rooms and mass graves play well on the 6 o'clock news

Except for the ones we run -- don't forget that the DOD has prevented you from seeing all the Abu Ghraib images, not to mention the caskets of US troops killed in Iraq.
posted by Vidiot at 9:49 AM on September 22, 2005


two points -

1) perhaps bush and the feds have actually learned something from the katrina fiasco

2) perhaps they haven't ... a lot of people seem to be assuming the aftermath of rita will be handled better

sorry, but i'm going to have to see it first
posted by pyramid termite at 10:04 AM on September 22, 2005


Like Bush could leave his former Lt. Governor high and dry...
posted by motherfather at 10:10 AM on September 22, 2005


Gov. Perry asked for federal help on Tuesday. Not placing blame anywhere, but there seems to be more cooperation between the feds and Texas than there was between the feds and Louisiana.
posted by forrest at 11:24 AM on September 22, 2005


Perry didn't request federal military assistance until today, and that was for post storm work (they aren't here yet, in other words). The only military that has been operating in the state right now has been our own National Guard, unless someone can point me to something saying otherwise. I've been watching my local and state news the last few days, and all I am seeing and hearing about are the Texas National Guard.

And it couldn't possibly be that things are going more smoothly preparing for Rita because Texas has a good set of plans in place to deal with just this sort of event, and we put them into action as soon as possible, could it? Or the fact that recently seeing what a major storm can do has motivated more people to listen to warnings and evacuation notices. No, I guess it has to be because it's Bush Country or Oil Country ... or because everyone in Texas is white and wealthy.
posted by Orb at 12:03 PM on September 22, 2005


And it couldn't possibly be that things are going more smoothly preparing for Rita because Texas has a good set of plans in place to deal with just this sort of event, and we put them into action as soon as possible, could it?

Yeah, given how smoothly the evacuation is going and the gas shortages and all, I can see that. Sheee-it.
posted by raysmj at 12:18 PM on September 22, 2005


Gas shortages and traffic... how is that surprising or an indictment of the disaster plan (in and of itself, anyway -- I'm not saying this is a perfect disaster plan... I doubt one exists unless you live in a dictatorship.)

How is it surprising when the 4th largest city (Houston) in the U.S.A. has large segments of it that are under mandatory evacuation?

...When Texas has a very long coastline, 3/4 of which is affected by the hurricane in some manner, and thus numerous smaller cities that are also evacuating (mandatory or voluntary)?

...When people and officials are all understandably gun-shy about hurricanes and flooding since we're scarcely 2 weeks past the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S.?

...When many potential shelter locations and hotel rooms for evacuees are ALREADY pressed into service sheltering Hurricane Katrina evacuees (that's not to say many other locations aren't still available; for example, San Antonio reportedly has 12 potential shelter locations, but they've learned not to publish the full list of potential shelters ahead of time, thus preventing the crush of humanity to one location vs. a controlled flow to various locales as others fill up.)
posted by geekgal at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2005


"And it couldn't possibly be that things are going more smoothly preparing for Rita because Texas has a good set of plans in place to deal with just this sort of event, and we put them into action as soon as possible, could it?"

raysmj writes "Yeah, given how smoothly the evacuation is going and the gas shortages and all, I can see that. Sheee-it."

Well, frankly: Yes. Things are going more smoothly preparing for Rita than for Katrina. And, yes, there are traffic jams and gas shortages.

The first time I played Ninja Gaiden, I got killed by the first boss. The next time I played, I got mighty injured by the first boss, but I didn't get killed by him. Even though the second time was not perfect, and had its problems, that certainly doesn't mean that it wasn't better then the first time.
posted by Bugbread at 1:08 PM on September 22, 2005


geekgal: I don't think it's that surprising, but I thought the previous message was of the nose-in-the-air, blame the previous victim sort. Every city and locale has trouble in these things, and I wish people would stop slamming the shit out of NOLA for things like a failure to use 324 school buses (which the mayor was, I keep hearing, supposed to "commandeer" even though not mayor in America has control over a school system's employees or equipment) to get people out. The evac was handled smoothly, by historical standards, much less regional ones. Of course it could've been handled better, but folks in Texas would do better to think, There but for the grace of God . . .
posted by raysmj at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2005


There weren't any major gas shortages in the New Orleans evac, to my knowledge, and there was a contra-flow plan that was carried out. There was less time to prepare too, frankly. On the other hand, people in New Orleans and environs were more used to evacuations in recent times. It's an apples and oranges situation in significant respects. I think the best that can be said is that people learn from mistakes, and people in both locales were trying and are trying to learn from mistakes.
posted by raysmj at 1:14 PM on September 22, 2005


Agreed.
posted by Bugbread at 1:27 PM on September 22, 2005


Of course it could've been handled better, but folks in Texas would do better to think, There but for the grace of God . . .

Not to pile on (again), but that is exactly what Texas' Governor Rick Perry said in his first press conference after Hurricane Katrina hit, as he was announcing shelters and relief support in response to Katrina.
posted by geekgal at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2005


I didn't say anything at all about NOLA or point any fingers at any "previous victims." I just want to know why it is that some people seem to be pointing fingers at Texas and blaming the fact that things aren't a total fiasco (yet) on oil, Bush or a lack of minorities (which isn't true anyway) ... as if we couldn't possibly have our own act together fairly well. It's no indictment of anyone else's actions in some other natural disaster to be able to admit that maybe Texas can have a reasonable plan, put it into action, and have it mostly work well.

And has shortages? When was the last time the gas stations along the evacuation routes had that many people passing by all at the same time wanting gas? Besides, the governor has already gotten tanker trucks to take gas to the stations and assist people running out of gas on the highways. If gas stations running out of gas under intense demand and heavy traffic during a massive evacuation are the only things going wrong, I'd say we are doing pretty damn good so far.
posted by Orb at 1:45 PM on September 22, 2005


Orb: I'll accept that, but the "more smoothly" implied a comparison with NOLA and the Katrina evacuation--which ended with an unprecedented 80 percent of residents leaving a major metro area--to me. If that wasn't intended, fine.
posted by raysmj at 2:02 PM on September 22, 2005


Raysmj, valid point, but it bears to stand repeating that Houston's population is 2,012,626, and New Orleans' is 462,269.
posted by Bugbread at 3:24 PM on September 22, 2005


It's not the entire city that's being evacuated, though, correct? Only parts of it. Or, at least, the evacuation order does not apply to the entire city, is my understanding.
posted by raysmj at 4:01 PM on September 22, 2005


Correct. Basically, the east end is apparently both lowest altitude and closest to the hurricane, so it's being officially evacuated. However, I believe evacuation has been "recommended" for anyone else who can (my parents live in far Northwest, and they've left the house). So you're right, it isn't a full 2,012,626 evacuating. In fact, now you've got my curiosity up regarding just what the numbers are, though I don't know if we'll get any even general statistics on it.
posted by Bugbread at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2005


what if Bush enacted legislation

The President can't enact legislation. Next question...

the almost inevitable military coup in 2008

Why wouldn't the military, you know, just wait until early 2009 when Bush has to leave office anyway, rather than forcing him out in 2008?

You don't think he's going to leave office without a fight do ya?

So wait, you think Bush is going to set up some sort of conflict between himself and the military just so there'll be some kind of spectacle to mark his last few months in office? To make him seem more manly maybe?

What ARE you people smokin'? None of this stuff makes even an iota of sense.
posted by kindall at 5:42 PM on September 22, 2005


Houston is just the largest city affected by mandatory and voluntary evacuations, there's also Galveston, Beeville, and many others. For an idea of the impact, just look at the list of Texas State Parks that are closed until September 25th due to Rita:


The closures are all along the Texas coast and echo various evacuations of cities and municipalities in the same area.

Reports put the number of people on the move at well over 1 million... many are staying with friends or family and will never come up on official evacuee/shelter rolls, presumably exactly the same thing that happened when NOLA evacuated, but on a larger scale since we're talking an entire coastal region rather than primarily one midsize city (NOLA) and a lot of weary, wary people who decided not to stick this one out.
posted by geekgal at 6:39 PM on September 22, 2005


Sorry, missing link from my entry --
Texas State Park closures due to Rita
posted by geekgal at 6:40 PM on September 22, 2005


Kindall, if you don't know your history it's going to be tough for you to get all my references. There are still plenty of libraries left in this country. Go read up about third world military coups and then get back to me. George Bush is commander in chief and has full command of the military in case of national emergency - like another 9/11.
posted by any major dude at 8:31 PM on September 22, 2005


Pardon my cynicism, which, as a Katrina evacuee, I think I have earned, but I expect if the Bush administration has learned its lesson from the destruction of New Orleans, it hasn't learned that lesson well. I fully expect this go-round to be a catastrophe of misused resources, ignored needs, and refugees living in mobile homes a year after their homes were destroyed.

Let me simply point out that it took the Red Cross exactly two hours to get me housing and a check. It is now three weeks later, and FEMA's Web page does not work, it takes three hours to get through by telephone, and all they can tell me is that my check may have been sent out already, or might be sent out soon.

Three weeks and one resigned director later, they're still essentially incompetent. If something goes wrong, however, this administration will probably have learned all too well how to cast the blame off their own shoulders and onto anyone and everyone else. It's their fastest, bast, and often only learning curve.
posted by maxsparber at 11:48 PM on September 22, 2005


By "bast," I meant "best." Oh, the inarticulateness of rage.
posted by maxsparber at 11:49 PM on September 22, 2005


Go read up about third world military coups and then get back to me.

A "military coup" is when the military overthrows the government. So, in a coup, Bush, being primarily the head of state, would be out pretty much by definition. (While Bush is the commander-in-chief, he is a civillian and technically could not participate in a military coup except as a victim.) I mean, first you think Bush enacts legislation, now you think he's in the military. And I'm the ignorant one?

I know it is tempting to concoct strained analogies between third-world countries and the United States and extrapolate them into dire predictions, but resisting the urge will make you less a laughingstock in the long run.

George Bush is commander in chief and has full command of the military in case of national emergency - like another 9/11.

So basically you expect there will be another 9/11-type catastrophe in 2008 and that Bush will use that an excuse for the military to take over the country and install himself as dictator, even though he didn't do any such thing in 2001. Essentially you are arguing that he will kill most of Congress, most state and local officials, most members of the military, and millions of ordinary citizens, including all the investment bankers on Wall Street, because that's what he'd have to do to pull that off -- all those people would be gunning for him. He'd have to kill me and he'd undoubtedly have to kill you, as I'm certain we are both patriots enough to defend our country against such a catastrophe, as are hundreds of millions of others.

Now, with a straight face, you offer this scenario not as a remote possibility on the order of the White House being destroyed by an asteroid, but as a near inevitability.

As I said before, what the hell are you smoking?

I will bet you $50,000 that there will not be a coup d'etat in the United States in 2008, whether Bush leads it or not. I'm totally serious. It'll be payable on the day there's a coup, or on January 1, 2009 if there is no coup in 2008.
posted by kindall at 2:10 PM on October 19, 2005


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