Active Army unit to be stationed within US
September 24, 2008 6:53 AM   Subscribe

"Beginning in October, the Army plans to station an active unit inside the United States for the first time..." (SLthisisveryscaryYT)
posted by allkindsoftime (170 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
See, they'll bring home the troops after all.
posted by phrontist at 6:57 AM on September 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


You know what? I've had it. I am not paying federal taxes anymore. The Untied States is broken. I am completely fucking serious. I am not going to contribute a dime to this fucking whorehouse of a government.
posted by Mister_A at 6:59 AM on September 24, 2008 [10 favorites]


Isn't there a law against using the military for law enforcement?
posted by stbalbach at 6:59 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well yeah, we'll need lots of troops all over the place during Bush's Emergency Third Term. Duh.
posted by wfrgms at 7:00 AM on September 24, 2008 [11 favorites]


Isn't there a law against using the military for law enforcement?

It's called the Posse Comitatus Act, and it's been under near-constant assault since 9/11.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:00 AM on September 24, 2008


The Army Times article referenced in the video.
posted by ericb at 7:00 AM on September 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Isn't there a law against using the military for law enforcement?

Yes.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:01 AM on September 24, 2008


From the Army Times article:
"In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack."
Hmmm...."learn new skills!"
posted by ericb at 7:02 AM on September 24, 2008


When we said Bring the Troops Home, this is not what we meant.
posted by stargell at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2008 [12 favorites]


I've been having these weird martial-law-armed-rebellion sort of dreams in the space between wakefulness and sleep... you're telling me they're premonitions?
posted by uncleozzy at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Its like the beginning of a very scary movie, except its real.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:06 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The news is so scary, it apparently gave the newsreader a stroke. And the stroke apparently made her neglect to cite sources.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:08 AM on September 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


WOLVERINES!!!!
posted by billysumday at 7:09 AM on September 24, 2008 [20 favorites]


Let's not be absurd here. The idea that active-duty soldiers have never been posted on American soill before is patently false. From reading the actual article, it's clear that this unit is being called upon to take on emergency-response duties during what is supposed to be their "down time" between foreign deployments.
The "never before" clause seems to apply to having regular Army troops assigned to work with Homeland Security, which, as a fairly shiny-new entity, has a lot of things it has never done yet.
There are many reasons for us to be outraged and fearful of the current administration. I think it's clear that this story is fairly low on that list.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 7:09 AM on September 24, 2008 [15 favorites]


And the stroke apparently made her neglect to cite sources.

Well she cited the Army Times article -- to which a link is posted above.
posted by ericb at 7:12 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


So .... let me get this straight ...

We're short on National Guard troops here in the States, the folks who are meant to help us in times of disaster, because they're over in the Middle East.

So to address this, we're going to station active Army units in the United States.

Really?
posted by grabbingsand at 7:12 AM on September 24, 2008 [63 favorites]


gee, right before an election too... what a co-winky-dinky
posted by jammy at 7:13 AM on September 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


And now here comes BigLankyBastard to spoil all the fun.
posted by notyou at 7:13 AM on September 24, 2008


This is the worrying part for me. Not that it's really anything new, you've been undergoing the militarisation of law enforcement for quite some time now - e.g. Long Range Acoustic Device on NYPD HMMWV

---

"The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets."

posted by knapah at 7:15 AM on September 24, 2008


From the Army Times:
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
This is the sort of duty that we used to rely on the states' National Guard units for. Why do they want a regular army unit now? Is it possible that people from Louisiana would be less willing to shoot, taser, or gas their own brothers and sisters, but a combat regiment from the regular army, not so much?
posted by Mister_A at 7:15 AM on September 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Just in time for the election!

Oh well, we've already been using private military contractors stateside.

Looks like it was an intentional strategy to break the back of the National Guard so responsibilities could be federalized. How any true conservatives can support this administration's usurpation and expansion of federal power is beyond me.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:18 AM on September 24, 2008


Let's not be absurd here. The idea that active-duty soldiers have never been posted on American soill before is patently false.

Maybe I'm wrong here (I don't know all the ins and outs of the military system and so on), but I thought this was the case myself - "Never before" isn't quite accurate, but as far as I know, this will be the first time this has happened in the last 130 years.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:18 AM on September 24, 2008


Which way to the Rubicon?
posted by chillmost at 7:18 AM on September 24, 2008 [13 favorites]


/nevermind, thanks Mister_A
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:20 AM on September 24, 2008


So now America gets to know what it is like to not be America. Seems fair to me.
posted by srboisvert at 7:20 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't seriously believe anyone is actually worried or upset about this. 700 billion is being fought over, and you are worried about a couple of guys with guns? Seriously? Wouldn't it be irresponsible of them not to have some of that on standby given what happened in the first few months of the current president's first term?

Oh, wait. Its a hysteria party. Oh. Okay. Carry on. OMG! OMG! Help us, NRA! You're our only hope!
posted by ewkpates at 7:21 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was in the Army, I was stationed in the US. Where do you think that soldiers hang out between wars? I know plenty of soldiers who did rescue-type operations on American soil after hurricanes and the like.

This is the sort of duty that we used to rely on the states' National Guard units for. Why do they want a regular army unit now?

The National Guard is probably all busy in Iraq.

That being said, it does sound like a step down the slippery slope.
posted by procrastination at 7:22 AM on September 24, 2008


RON PAUL FOR KING!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:23 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, of course army units are stationed in the US between tours. This army unit is basically being trained as a domestic crowd-control bludgeon. If that doesn't scare you, you probably run an investment bank and have your own island, so no worries.
posted by Mister_A at 7:26 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Now my morning is complete. I think I'll go back to bed now.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:27 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This all sounds like tinfoil hat FUD to me.
posted by zennoshinjou at 7:27 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mister A, I think I found your new favorite band.
posted by josher71 at 7:32 AM on September 24, 2008


The Untied States is broken.

Appropriate typo.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:33 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice, I would rather have those clowns running things...
posted by Mister_A at 7:33 AM on September 24, 2008


This idea strikes me as more of a Natural Disaster response team rather than a Crowd Control issue. The non-lethal weapon system training will be useful for the military as it tries to apply the same technology in Iraq and Afganistan but I can't help but think that after the flooding of New Orleans, President Bush wanted an active military force that he could call on to respond quickly that was not tied to the National Guard. It strikes me as an expanison of federal power over the states.

And, really, the US has plenty of active military personel in the United States - the difference here is that there is now an active military unit who's specific mission (during its down time) is to be the federal version of the National Guard. And based on the fact that the US military is still learning how to train it's soldiers to be policemen in a combat zone (which is one of the big problems in Iraq and Afganistan), I have a hard time seeing this as a bad thing.
posted by Stynxno at 7:36 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The manufactured outrage isnt convincing. The National Guard is a military unit. They're not peace officers. The difference here is incredibly trivial. Lipstick on a pig, people. Dont buy into the hype.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:38 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The non-lethal weapon system training...

Less lethal. Less. I had a classmate in my sociology class who died from injuries caused by a "non-lethal" weapon.
posted by giraffe at 7:39 AM on September 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


The crowd control non-lethal weapons and tactics training will also be invaluable to these soldiers and the others they train when they rotate back into Iraq and Afghanistan over the next 20-50 years and maintain control of those areas.
posted by Science! at 7:40 AM on September 24, 2008


I have been seething these past several days over the prospect of BushCo yet again raiding the treasury, yet again threatening us with annihilation, this time financial, if we don't sign a blank check to the idiots who are bankrupting us. Now we see that our tax dollars will be used to shoot us in the face, perhaps non-lethally, if we step out of line. The executive branch of the federal government is expecting civil unrest, obviously, and is preparing to beat down that unrest. They are expecting unrest because people are extremely fucking pissed off about the sacking of the national treasury for the benefit of corrupt moneyed interests, while regular people are losing their homes, or can't afford their medicine, or have to take three buses to get to a lousy dead-end job that will allow them to barely squeak by until the next financial shock hits.
posted by Mister_A at 7:43 AM on September 24, 2008 [9 favorites]


you are worried about a couple of guys with guns?

this is hardly what i would call a US Army BCT

And based on the fact that the US military is still learning how to train it's soldiers to be policemen in a combat zone (which is one of the big problems in Iraq and Afganistan), I have a hard time seeing this as a bad thing.

how is it a good thing to have soldiers who have little training in being police being sent in to deal with crowd control?
posted by jammy at 7:45 AM on September 24, 2008


Wouldn't it be irresponsible of them not to have some of that on standby given what happened in the first few months of the current president's first term?

What, you think the new President is going to need help clearing brush at his ranch? That's pretty much all that happened the first 8 months of Bush's first term.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:47 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't there a law against....

Talk to the Cheney Branch.
posted by DU at 7:48 AM on September 24, 2008


This idea strikes me as more of a Natural Disaster response team rather than a Crowd Control issue.

Maybe I'm just not Orwellian enough in my thinking, but this was my feeling about it, too. All kinds of terrible things could happen, all kinds of nasty The Siege-type scenarios, but mostly I'm thinking how much good some boots on the ground here could have done during, say, Ike or Katrina. And here's a thought: All those schools I'm forever hearing about that our guys so proudly built for the children of Iraq? Well, we could use a few of those here in America, too...if they've got the time, I mean.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:50 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


In early 2006, the 109th Congress passed a bill containing controversial provisions that granted the President additional rights to use federal or state National Guard Troops inside the United States in emergency situations. These changes were included in the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR).

These changes were repealed in their entirety in 2008.
posted by stevejensen at 7:54 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


These troops will be handy for when the anti-Obama militias start their terror campaign. Somebody will have to put a stop to the PUMAs and I think it will take the army. I sure as hell don't want to deal with angry middle-aged middle-class women.
posted by srboisvert at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2008


Same as it ever was.

As I said elsewhere yesterday, call the hell down already.
posted by dw at 7:57 AM on September 24, 2008


Wouldn't it be irresponsible of them not to have some of that on standby given what happened in the first few months of the current president's first term?

How would 'active' army ground forces helped on 9/11? We already had NORAD and plenty of air force planes and national guard planes, it's just that they were not coordinated because the attack was so unexpected (at least for those at NORAD)
posted by delmoi at 7:59 AM on September 24, 2008


...mostly I'm thinking how much good some boots on the ground here could have done during, say, Ike or Katrina.

Yeah, I agree. We should create some kind of semi-military organization for the home front. To allay those Orwellian fears, they'd be a state-level organization answerable to the governor rather than a federal military org. We could call it the "National Guard".
posted by DU at 8:00 AM on September 24, 2008 [35 favorites]


I understand what you're saying kittens for breakfast, but why would anyone trust this government now? Why would anyone accept at face-value this explanation of a disaster-relief role? It's disaster control they're after, not relief.

Again, please consider the source: The Executive Branch of the US Government. The Army did not just dream this up, they were tasked to develop this capability by the Sec'y of Defense.
posted by Mister_A at 8:00 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just not Orwellian enough in my thinking, but this was my feeling about it, too. All kinds of terrible things could happen, all kinds of nasty The Siege-type scenarios, but mostly I'm thinking how much good some boots on the ground here could have done during, say, Ike or Katrina.

That's what the national guard is for, the only problem is the fact that they've been sent over seas, and no no one will join up unless they are willing to be sent to Iraq. Yet another EPIC FAIL of the bush administration.

There's no reason a civilian disaster response corps couldn't be organized, made from people who are already firefighters, cops, etc.
posted by delmoi at 8:02 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Its like the beginning of a very scary movie, except its real.

No, it's more like that fake newscast playing in the background during the beginning of a scary movie that nobody really pays attention to until the third or fourth viewing, and then you realize... ha, they explained it all right there!.
posted by rokusan at 8:05 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah, you'll soon get used to it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:07 AM on September 24, 2008


The Untied States is broken.

This.
This is what's been running around in my head all week.
I pick up a paper or flip on the radio and a little voice in my head says "Damn. They did it. They broke America."

I am not a tin foil hat truther type person. I swear. I am a mild-mannered librarian. But this story is jostling for place with a whole bunch of others in a really horrified place in my brain.
posted by Biblio at 8:12 AM on September 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


We could call it the "National Guard".

Well, agreed, but that's not how we've been using the National Guard. There's no reasonable expectation any longer that we'll have troops available here if we need them. I'm saying that this is potentially a good thing, and that whatever evil or stupid purposes the current administration might like to put them to are soon to be quite irrelevant, and if you'd like to avoid another administration along its same lines...well, you know what to do there. I think this is a development on which to keep a close eye, but I'm not willing to jump to doomsday prognostication just yet. (I reserve the right to jump to doomsday prognostication in November, however.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


i love how the americans on metafilter always end up fighting over whether the latest turn of the screw is really anything to worry about.

"news at 11!" they say
"it's been done before!" they say
"somebody has to keep the peace!" they say

earth to america: you're doing it wrong.
posted by klanawa at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2008 [18 favorites]


Well, maybe this will help us understand why we are becoming more distrustful of our leadership. Hopefully speaking out like this woman will gain needed exposure. From a military presence in our cities, to theft in our banking systems, I think things are coming to an apex.
posted by threadbare at 8:18 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think this is a development on which to keep a close eye, but I'm not willing to jump to doomsday prognostication just yet.

I agree, we should wait to lock the barn door until AFTER the horses are stolen. It only makes sense.
posted by DU at 8:18 AM on September 24, 2008


BigLankyBastard writes "The 'never before' clause seems to apply to having regular Army troops assigned to work with Homeland Security, which, as a fairly shiny-new entity, has a lot of things it has never done yet."

As a rule mission creep is almost always pernicious. The Drug War sounded like a good idea, so did SWAT teams, and punishing drug lords with asset forfeiture sounded like a great way to fund the Drug War and the SWAT teams.

But the result was mission creep, police buying lots of new toys, then finding that they could fund that with asset forfeiture, then a budget crunch and having to find enough assets to forfeit to cover significant portions of their budgets.

The end result is that you've got large portions of some states where you simply can't drive through with even 500 bucks in cash, unless you're white and over 35.

(This is the same story, only with bigger guns, as when small towns along I-95 learned toputupspeed traps for tourists on their way to Florida.)


Make an Army unit's objective "non-lethal crowd control", give it "non-lethal" tools, and make its commanders' promotions depend on proficiency in this, and you'll have increasing pressure to justify the new toy and new objectives by making use of them.

And it'll happen, just like it has at political conventions since '68. But instead of cops who have some idea of restraint, and who are trained to make arrests, you'll have scared and testosterone-fueled 18 year olds trained to kill and pointing their "non-lethal" weapons at protesters or evacuees.

And the guns will go off, and unarmed civilians will get killed, just like at Kent State or the Bonus Army (in which Dougie MacArthur and George Patton sent tanks and cavalry charges against unarmed veterans).

As long as you have kids trained to kill trying to use "non-lethal" force it'll happen. This is obvious to me, and should be obvious to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of history, because we've seen it happen before. It's a bad idea with no real upside. Why even do it? And why be an apologist for it?
posted by orthogonality at 8:24 AM on September 24, 2008 [35 favorites]


Wow, threadbare, thanks for showing me that Marcy Kaptur video. I have Kaptur rapture! She has Kaptur'd my heart!
posted by Mister_A at 8:26 AM on September 24, 2008


earth to america: you're doing it wrong.

i love how the non-Americans on metafilter are so quick to point to America as in the wrong, even when they are proposing to do things more like their nation. Klanawa, the US does not have a national supplementary seserve force or a national police force (with the exception of law enforcement agencies with specific tasks such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement), as Canada has, reserves are comanded on the state level until Federalized by Presidential order. This proposal provides for a national force to perform emergency management and police functions nationwide making us more Canda-like. Personally, I think that's bad and that you are doing it wrong.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:29 AM on September 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


Let's not be absurd here.

Agreed. Active duty units are usually stationed within the U.S. Ever heard of Ft. Bragg? Ft. Meyers? The Pentagon?

People do not understand the U.S. Army. It is an apolitical force and many officers refuse to vote precisely because they feel they should be outside the political process while serving the nation in an apolitical fashion. I think it highly unlikely they are going to support a "third Bush term" or any such nonsense.

It seems like the younger voters watch too much TV and Oliver Stone movies.

As for not paying taxes, good luck with that.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:32 AM on September 24, 2008 [9 favorites]


Not seeing a problem here. You pay for the forces, why not have them available for state side needs?

That being said, I wonder about post election day riots if Obama loses. Or maybe when Wall Street fully collapses...

Man, good times are coming. The Y2K survivalist nut jobs may have there day yet!!
posted by a3matrix at 8:35 AM on September 24, 2008


Shut up! Be happy.
posted by cashman at 8:35 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also active duty forces were called out for the LA riots of 1992--both Marine and Army units were used for riot control.

Amy Goodman overly hypes this stuff all of the time. She has that great "this is important" voice, but just because she says it is a big deal doesn't mean its true.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:36 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


the Bonus Army (in which Dougie MacArthur and George Patton sent tanks and cavalry charges against unarmed veterans).

Again, debunking the "never before" claim that Goodman presses. If she'd just stick to calling out all the real crap that's out there instead of fanning these flames, she'd have a lot more credibility. Its like she almost wants it to be true. Then she'd be fighting the good fight.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:38 AM on September 24, 2008


I think it highly unlikely they are going to support a "third Bush term" or any such nonsense.

No dude! Its totally real! Like they totally killed the electric car, imprisoned Mumia, and now Bush will totally rule forever !!!!!!!!!!

/sigh
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:38 AM on September 24, 2008


Seeing the National Guard walk the streets during an emergency is one thing - they are trained to help and protect people in times of need. Seeing the Army is another - they are trained for one thing - to kill.
posted by any major dude at 8:39 AM on September 24, 2008


I agree, we should wait to lock the barn door until AFTER the horses are stolen. It only makes sense.

We know what the stated objective is. It's not an objective I disagree with. That may be me taking things too much at face value, but let me ask you: If the Bush administration planned to move an elite fighting force into the States to kill protestors in the event of, say, a shady Obama loss, do you think they'd really give us all a heads-up?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:40 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have any supplemental links for this?
posted by pracowity at 8:44 AM on September 24, 2008


Ironmouth, maybe this regiment is intended to distribute sweetness and light from non-lethal bubble-gum cannons, but I seriously fucking doubt it. I believe that this is the beginning of our very own national police force. Using guard units is undesirable because the members are from the areas to which they are dispatched. These guys are (in most cases) not, and may be better prepared to carry out certain unpleasant orders.

The differences between having a dedicated unit trained in herding civilians and dispatching troops to secure order and provide some physical security in the LA riots are too numerous to list quickly, but the key point is that, once the capability is developed, it will be used, as orthogonality so eloquently explains above.
posted by Mister_A at 8:45 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Seeing the National Guard walk the streets during an emergency is one thing - they are trained to help and protect people in times of need. Seeing the Army is another - they are trained for one thing - to kill.

You say this because you served? In both? Your statement is false, on many levels.
posted by a3matrix at 8:48 AM on September 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


People do not understand the U.S. Army. It is an apolitical force and many officers refuse to vote precisely because they feel they should be outside the political process while serving the nation in an apolitical fashion.

this word, "apolitical" - i do not think it means what you think it means

If the Bush administration planned to move an elite fighting force into the States to kill protestors in the event of, say, a shady Obama loss, do you think they'd really give us all a heads-up?

well, according to all the non-absurdist non-hysterical folks here, this doesn't even come close to a "heads-up" - it's totally innocent & anyone who thinks otherwise is a craaazy person who says "dude" like a stupid stoner
posted by jammy at 8:49 AM on September 24, 2008


Pollomacho, I think Klanawa's comment was more directed at the apparent ongoing subversion of the US' traditional pose as the shining light of free democracy.
A lot of the world, while not living under a system like ours, take great comfort in that our little experiment has (until recently, in some eyes) been successfully chugging-along. Some even get a bit upset when our train appears to be heading off the tracks, or, worse, backing down the hill.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2008


Who needs an elite fighting force? They just need a brigade of soldiers, answerable only to the President, who've done a little crowd control training. Just to keep the public order in an emergency, you see.

You see, when Bush decides to enact executive power to force through his bailout, for the good of the economy, some people might get unreasonably upset. You see, extremists, those crunchy-granola wackjobs with puppets and all that nonsense, might decide to interrupt the everyday lives of honest people, but this new brigade is here to protect us from that. They're equipped with the latest in non-lethal weapons, designed to torture hundreds, perhaps thousands of people into submission at a time... non-lethally! Perfectly reasonable. Hey, they might just help out with crowd control at voting stations in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, too, to prevent Voter Fraud, so its a good thing all around!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:53 AM on September 24, 2008


Shut up! Be happy.

At last, everything is being done FOR you!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:56 AM on September 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


*sigh*

I miss the good old days when we didn't need to have troops fresh from a hot combat zone put into a position where they were responsible for policing their own citizens.

Remember? Back when the National Guard was here to guard the nation.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on September 24, 2008


I don't think this is the correct remedy for the National Guard being busy in Iraq. I'd prefer if the National Guard was only deployed outside the United States if Congress declares war (I know, I'm old-fashioned and I bitterly cling to quaint ideas like the Constitution). If a conflict is serious enough and an existential threat and the regular military can't handle it, then declare war and either bring up the National Guard or restart the draft.

Again, debunking the 'never before' claim that Goodman presses.

Also, Eisenhower deployed part of the 101st Airborne to Little Rock in 1957 to enforce segregation. On the other hand, the National Guard handled riots in 125 cities when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. In fact, the MLK example proves that this measure is unnecessary.

(The Kent State shootings were the Ohio National Guard.)
posted by kirkaracha at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2008


Wait, we're sending people who fought in a war to police civilians? And what percentage of people in the armed forces come home with PTSD or other untreated mental health problems?

Uhhh...
posted by giraffe at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


they are trained for one thing - to kill

Yeah, but tese days they're trained to do it at a distance. If they are marching down the street they may actually have to stop and talk to you before calling in the hellfires.

They're equipped with the latest in non-lethal weapons, designed to torture hundreds, perhaps thousands of people into submission at a time... non-lethally!

No, no, silly, we DO NOT TORTURE. How many times does Dick Cheney have to say it? Sure we may use excrutiating pain as a means to convice someone of the "truth" or to "confess" to a crime, but that's different.

Hey, they might just help out with crowd control at voting stations in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, too, to prevent Voter Fraud, so its a good thing all around!

Actually, knowing how much Americans hate to be told what to do and love to show off their rugged individualism, I think staging troops at the polls would probably be the best way to make sure that Obama wins by a landslide. It's the only way to guarantee that every lefty and his grandmther shows up to vote.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:14 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this situation is completely normal. Absolutely. No one should be worried about this at all. I mean, sure, it's one more thing that goes against everything this country has said it's stood for since the beginning, but, honestly, who cares? Our government takes great care of us and listens to our concerns. And we've all made sure to vote consistently over the last forty years or so to make sure we don't have corruption or power-hunger or abuse of our various constitutional guarantees, right?

We'll be fine.

We probably don't need Habeus Corpus, anyway.
posted by batmonkey at 9:18 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, you know, it's not like anyone's been warning us about this or anything...
posted by batmonkey at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2008


Welcome to New Caprica.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:21 AM on September 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I hear Palin has already declared war on Laurasia and Gondwanaland.
posted by Mister_A at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pollomacho, you completely missed my point. it's not the further militarization of your proto-fascist country that i'm saying is wrong, it's your complacent reaction to it.

besides, i never said canada was doing it right.
posted by klanawa at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2008


I hear Palin has already declared war on Laurasia and Gondwanaland.

And they don't stand a chance. Have you seen her army?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:28 AM on September 24, 2008


This.

... is starting to get annoying in its implied profundity and pomposity? I agree wholeheartedly.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


and Thorzdad is right. i've lived in the US and have many family there. i've always felt a strong affinity for the US and the principles on which it was founded. the whole time i lived there, though, i kept asking myself, "how do these people live like this? how do they allow themselves to be used this way?"

despite my tongue-in-cheekiness, the trajectory you guys are on is really one of the great tragedies of the age and it makes me sad. and scared.
posted by klanawa at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2008


Spies Warn That Al Qaeda Aims for October Surprise

Forecast: U.S. dollar could plunge 90 pct

RFK Jr., Mike Papantonio: "Is Your Vote Safe?"

Truth or Terrorism? The Real Story Behind Five Years of High Alerts
posted by ornate insect at 9:36 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was stationed in the US and he helped after Hurricane Hugo. That was a "humanitarian" effort I think.

Also....I don't think you need spike strips for Crowd Control.


Something smells funny.


WE should not be afraid of our government, they should be afraid of us!
posted by winks007 at 9:36 AM on September 24, 2008


I'm 22. Pretty much since I've had the literacy to handle more complex works than 'Farmer Brown's Birthday' I've been exposed to articles and essays decrying that the US (or the UK, or Canada, or the english speaking nation du jour) is broken and things are going to slide into perdition. Perhaps this is because my family was very left wing, and the extremes of the political spectrum are most sensitive. I mean, my grandparents were commie-pinko lefties who protested the Vietnam war. My great grandparents endured two world wars, with the attached icky internments and racism (the Ukranian side of the family met in a labour camp). My great-great grandparents had labour issues. My great-great-great grandparents also had labour issues. And incurable pre-modern-antibiotic diseases. Three years into a political science degree and all I've learned is that people were concerned about the power governments held since Og stood on a tree stump and announced that the best direction to go was his/her way. Can someone explain to me which of the following is true?

1) Things have recently taken a turn for the worse. At one point and time, there was paradise, or at least better days. When was this? Ballpark decade or century?

2) Things have always been broken. Some things get better, some things get worse. Mostly bad.

3) Things are okay, but the more sensitive feel the need to decry every small, potentially bad thing. There's no way of predicting when stuff really breaks until you're buying fake papers on the black market to escape.

4) Things are getting better. Some things suck, but generally even over the last 100 years, life has been improving.

5) Other. (Please explain)

I'm asking this because it seems like the older I get, the harder it becomes to react to an 'ohnoes!' I'm pretty big about not being slaughtered by a government (mine or someone else's), so is there a sane way of dealing with this?
posted by Phalene at 9:37 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pollomacho, you completely missed my point.

No, I understood your point, I even agreed with it. I simply pointed out that while you find it interesting that the Americans don't seem to be uniformly up in arms about this, your own nation has been under a system even more centrally controlled for decades. Why aren't Canadians up in arms over their nation's proto-fascistic militarization?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:37 AM on September 24, 2008


It seems like the younger voters watch too much TV and Oliver Stone movies.

Indeed. I was going to say the same thing, only you beat me to it.

Anyone remember the Kent State shootings? Of course not, you're all far too young. But yeah, that was the National Guard you guys would seem to prefer helping out around the neighborhood.

So, ask yourselves, why do some people think we need the military helping out in local emergencies?

Is it because a secret cabal of Republicans is going to use the military to take over the country?

Or is it because state governments are so corrupt and weak, they can't do anything without federal help, and when the shit hits the fan, it's the feds that seem to get the blame (rightly or wrongly), despite some of the feds doing good work?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2008


This army unit is basically being trained as a domestic crowd-control bludgeon.

Active duty troops for domestic crowd control? Nothing new there.
posted by MikeMc at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2008


U.S. Northern Command, Canada Command establish new bilateral Civil Assistance Plan (2/14/08)
posted by ornate insect at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2008


The sane way of dealing with it is to vote, and to smack your fellow citizens on the ass and tell them to get their heads out of the sand and vote on the important issues, not on who is the beer-drinkingest or whatever. And like winks says, let's make the government afraid to disappoint us yet again.
posted by Mister_A at 9:46 AM on September 24, 2008


The lack of trust in the US government here is staggering.
Not unfounded, but profoundly sad.
posted by sandraregina at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


MikeMc, something is new here. This is a standing unit dedicated to a domestic mission, not a regular unit called in to provide physical security (or the opposite).

Even if there is a precedent, that doesn't make it right, and it doesn't make me suddenly want to trust the kleptocracy.
posted by Mister_A at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Many people seem confused about the 'never before' aspect.
Never before has the army had a dedicated assignment to Northern Command to keep people orderly, within the United States.

An assignment for which they get their orders from the President alone - not the state governors, let alone the congress.

If that's not scary, ur readin' it wrong.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:51 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


How's your frog doing? Is it boiling yet?

If it helps, imagine this is all happening to someone else about 70 years ago. Would you be asking that person what the hell was wrong with them, that they didn't see what was coming and either fight back or get out?
posted by Naberius at 9:56 AM on September 24, 2008


4) Things are getting better. Some things suck, but generally even over the last 100 years, life has been improving.

5) Other. (Please explain)

I'm asking this because it seems like the older I get, the harder it becomes to react to an 'ohnoes!' I'm pretty big about not being slaughtered by a government (mine or someone else's), so is there a sane way of dealing with this?


My two cents ... it's a combination of Nos. 4 and 5, and for "Other," it's because we're still in a transition period out of post-World War II thinking (e.g. it wasn't that long ago that global thermonuclear war was on everyone's minds), complicated by a colossally stupid foreign policy adventure in Iraq, complicated further by a colossally stupid financial crisis.

But things always get better in the long run. You know, that global thermonuclear war idea, for one thing. Anyone remember when AIDS patients were considered hazardous materials? Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive in 1991. Last time I checked, he was pretty damn healthy, which says something about the tippity-top of our medical knowledge. That doesn't help you much if you're dirt-poor in Namibia, of course, but the richest guy in the world just retired with the goal that he was focusing on his charity work. You know, before the Seinfeld commercials started running.

I like a recent observation by Adam Carolla, if I can use him as example. He likes to say, if you went back 20 years and asked him what TV would look like in 2008, he'd have told you that popular TV would be nothing but cage-fighting and porn. Instead, we have American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Is that better? Well, whatever it is, it sure ain't cage-fighting and porn. Our dim visions of the future often turn out not to be the case.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:56 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The lack of trust in the US government here is staggering encouraging

Perhaps it's better to err on the side of informed public mistrust and to occasionally entertain suspicion in times such as this, than it is to err on the side of too much acquiescence.

Sometimes a little tinfoil speculation and a healthy dose of salt is good for political discourse. It helps to keep one awake, just in case.
posted by ornate insect at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Active duty troops for domestic crowd control? Nothing new there.

Not quite, those are Federalized National Guard troops, not regular army (except in the Pullman strike which did have some regulars, it was the National Guard that opened fire however).
posted by Pollomacho at 9:58 AM on September 24, 2008


Well, whatever it is, it sure ain't cage-fighting and porn

Isn't Ultimate Fighting held in a cage?
posted by any major dude at 10:09 AM on September 24, 2008


Phalene:

There's no way to know what it all really is, what it all really means, until whatever is inevitable begins to happen. It's been like this for long enough that anyone even twice your age is pretty worn out from being told it's all going to end any minute now.

Your best course of action is to try to be as equally informed as you can be - learning about the positions of each "side", paying attention to the gaps between our Constitution and what's actually going on out there, and voting from the local level on up consistently and fearlessly for the people who support the type of nation you'd want to live in for the next sixty years or so.

Be informed. Be ready. Be involved. That's really all you can do.
posted by batmonkey at 10:10 AM on September 24, 2008


Not quite, those are Federalized National Guard troops, not regular army

Little Rock - 101st Airborne (Regular Army)
LA Riots - 1st Marine Division & 7th Infantry Division (Both regular active duty units)
posted by MikeMc at 10:12 AM on September 24, 2008


Never before has the army had a dedicated assignment to Northern Command to keep people orderly, within the United States.

An assignment for which they get their orders from the President alone - not the state governors, let alone the congress.

If that's not scary, ur readin' it wrong.


If you want to totally misread this action, then keep doing it but you're just fueling your own fearmongering and conspiracy while totally ignoring the facts at hand. The Northern Command is NEW - it was only established in 2002. Homeland security is also new - attaching this action to a specific command is a mistake because anything that these two organizations does can pretty much be called "new". No new military unit is being assigned to keep people orderly in the US - a military unit is gaining the distinction and the funding and the training to respond to humanitarian (and even a terrorist attack in the US would require a more humanitarian than militaristic local response) crisi in the US. The military unit will be kept at its normal home base and will be assigned this duty during its normal downtime inbetween deployments overseas. After that, a new unit will receive that designation. The difference is not in capability - the US has, and will, use military forces inside its borders when it deems fit - the difference now is that a specific military unit will receive more training and be the primary rapid response unit for when a domestic crisis arises. Again, this is like creating a permanment federalized national guard unit and not creating a specific military unit that is designed to feed your fearmongering and to keep you awake at night.

There are plenty of other things to be afraid of but this isn't one of them.
posted by Stynxno at 10:13 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Kent State Massacre
posted by destro at 10:15 AM on September 24, 2008


the difference now is that a specific military unit will receive more training and be the primary rapid response unit for when a domestic crisis arises.

See, you read this as a good thing, and I read it as a bad thing. I respect your opinion, but I am going to err on the side of not trusting this administration. Look where trusting "the grownups" (anyone remember that one?) has gotten us.
posted by Mister_A at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2008


I'm sure it's in the comments somewhere, but couldn't the FPP include a link to something other than "Democracy Now"? There is very little context here - could someone explain how this will enhance or compliment the role of the National Guard during times of crisis? Perhaps Katrina and Ike have demonstrated there there is a very real need to manage a significant risk, and there is currently not the capability to do so. However, perhaps the stress and chaos caused by redeployments in Iraq of National Guard units has caused this problem, where there is not enough capacity to mitigate risk.

But, for crying out loud, some context is needed here. Otherwise this thread is preaching to Michael Moore's choir. It's fun to be scared and to rant against Bush2.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:18 AM on September 24, 2008


As long as they're not doing their training mission in a Louisiana bayou, they should be safe.
posted by Chuffy at 10:24 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let me ask you a few things kokoryu:

Has the Bush administration been honest? Have they given you any reason to trust their judgment, competence, or motivations? Do you think it is appropriate to subject any important change in the way the federal government responds to "crises" to scrutiny? Do you think it is possible that the US government may not always act in the best interests of the great majority of its citizens?

It's not fun to rant about the Bush administration. I want to rant about the Mets, OK? But the Mets are not going to send me a bill for AT LEAST $700 billion dollars, and they are not putting their military (Carlos Delgado) to ominous stateside use. It's not fun, ok? Baseball is fun.
posted by Mister_A at 10:24 AM on September 24, 2008


Isn't Ultimate Fighting held in a cage?

Yes, but Carolla's point is, the TV landscape isn't plastered wall-to-wall with it, which says something about the state of everyday, popular culture -- it hasn't turned out anywhere close to as bad as people thought it would.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:27 AM on September 24, 2008


1) Things have recently taken a turn for the worse. At one point and time, there was paradise, or at least better days. When was this? Ballpark decade or century?

1994-2000. I mean, I certainly agree that these are nowhere close to really-really-really bad times, but there's no doubt that every living American over the age of 20 remembers when some things were a lot better. The problem isn't just the economy has recently taken a turn for the worse, it's that it did so this severely and abruptly.

As for your choices, I'd point out that "better", "worse", etc are relative terms when applied to culture; these depend entirely on one's values. For some people, certain pre-modern cultural values may trump pre-modern-antibiotic diseases... personally, I'm more for building something new with an eye toward history, rather than trying to return to a recreated model of something old, but I think there's no doubt that we've made some serious sacrifices for our modern advances. Unfortunately, we don't seem interested in considering this, what with our a-historical, myopic insistence that "democracy is the worst system of governance except all those other systems which have been tried from time to time", "things always get better in the long run", blah blah etc.

It's worth noting that the latter has been false for the vast majority of political systems and cultures which have ever existed on the face of the Earth -- they are all gone now, leaving hardly a trace, just as we shall eventually be. Things always die in the long run, and "all that begins must surely also end".
posted by vorfeed at 10:28 AM on September 24, 2008


Kent State Massacre
posted by destro at 10:15 AM on September 24


Again, that was the Ohio National Guard, not the U.S. Army.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:29 AM on September 24, 2008


MSTPT, I can't remember the last time I read the news without hearing Jello Biafra lyrics and harangues in my head.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I tend to agree with both KokuRyu and Mister_A on this: the FPP should have provided more context (although the thread can be used for that now), and also that it's not fun to have to be so suspicious of the government (it's exhausting)--but it just might be necessary. I also don't see the harm if there truly is "nothing to see here, move along." Lord knows I do not want to have any occasional paranoid suspicions I harbor be proven right. I would much rather have this be nothing.
posted by ornate insect at 10:31 AM on September 24, 2008


The difference, Cool Papa Bell, is that we the people of the United States live in a world that is already plastered wall-to-wall with the fallout of eight years of greed and villainy perpetrated in our name. Our worst fears about Bush were quickly eclipsed by the horrible reality of this administration. So, to return to your analogy, all that is on now is pornographic death-match cage fighting.
posted by Mister_A at 10:32 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kent State Massacre: the most popular murders in America, at the time, America it seems loves rule by executive order. (lame duck Ohio Governor)
posted by hortense at 10:32 AM on September 24, 2008


Wake Up!

lyrics


...the closing song from The Matrix, and well chosen IMO.

in 1999, we weren't quite equipped for the revolt


Anyone remember how the election protesters got treated in NYC in 2004?


Basically now they're trained and ready to deal with this stuff. More effective non(?)-lethals, media under wraps, sheep-like populace cooing over Soccer Mom VP.

Thank goodness for digital cams and the internet.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 10:36 AM on September 24, 2008


I read the article in Army Times, and I have to say, for me the real-right-now but boring economics of the bailout (or cash-in, from the perspective of a profligate banker) is far more scary than the implausible prospect of a military coup.
posted by athenian at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2008


I'm not expecting an overt military coup, just a new national security apparatus with no congressional oversight and accountability to the executive branch only. That's plenty to get worked up about. And FWIW, I am not hysterical, I am extremely fucking righteously pissed off.
posted by Mister_A at 10:45 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I read the article in Army Times, and I have to say, for me the real-right-now but boring economics of the bailout (or cash-in, from the perspective of a profligate banker) is far more scary than the implausible prospect of a military coup.

On wonders if they might be related.

Either way, however, the problem with Bush is he is the boy who cried wolf.

Today the NYT is reporting that Mr. Bush’s chief spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said on Wednesday that the country could face “a financial calamity” if Congress does not act soon.

This sounds familiar: the Bush administration has more than once threatened calamity (mushroom clouds, WMD, etc) to achieve its ends with the Patriot Act, in Iraq, on Social Security, etc. It seems to be their default mode.

Given that even the New York Times has questioned whether the FBI is covering up the anthrax case claimed by some to be recently resolved, the situation is this:

a) if the Bush administration is over-stating their case to get this bailout money (without any strings attached, mind you) then once again the American people will have been duped (bribed) into a bad choice

b) if the Bush administration is finally telling the truth, then it's unsurprising that after eight years many people (even in this case many Republicans) would be reluctant to pass such a sweeping bailout with little or no review
posted by ornate insect at 10:48 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I believe that this is the beginning of our very own national police force.

Actually, Obama is for that. I am a huge fan of his, but I am against that. It isn't needed.

Let's be very frank here. There are thousands of U.S. troops, fully equipped, stationed on U.S. soil. The majority of U.S. troops are stationed here. They have tanks, planes, bombs--all of that. If there was some plot afoot, they could be deployed at a moment's notice. Getting all wound up about the idea of having a single brigade sitting around which could be deployed while it waits to be rotated out of the States is just useless.

As for them being "now trained and ready," they are trained and ready already. They know how to deal with a riot, with anything--they are the military and they are designed to be used against people. This tiny force means absolutely nothing.

Finally, they don't need a coup. Guess what! the American people voted the right wing idiots into power! They voted them in! Why supress a population that voted for you?

We have to get Obama elected. That is all. The rest is just paranoid foolishness. What exactly are we to do against the Army if it is deployed against us?

Win this election.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Back in 2000, I heard over and over again from the far right how Clinton was going to do this and that to seize power. Posse Comitatus would be suspended. The Cole was a false flag event. There would be a coup, just watch. Etc. etc. etc.

So:

Who won the 2000 presidential election?
Who was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001?
Was either of their names "William Jefferson Clinton?"

Yeah. Exactly.

BTW, those regular army folks you swear are "trained to kill" -- do they swear an oath of allegiance to the President? Or do they swear to uphold the Constitution? In this you will find your answer to what would happen if there was a coup.

Everyone in the White House is ready to go home, except Dick Cheney's shredding crew. They're tired. The president's approval ratings are the worst since the last days of Nixon, and morale is at rock-bottom. Yeah, maybe it's all a feint, but when I saw Dubya with Costas at the Olympics, I saw a guy ready to hand the keys over to whomever gets the White House saying, "Good luck, you'll need it." Damn guy looked like he was on vacation the whole time.

And yet, here you all are, talking about one troop deployment spoken by that doyenne of truth Amy Goodman as if This Is The End Of America. And you sound just like those right-wing idiots eight years ago.

Calm the hell down already. If you want to hang with the conspiracy folks, freerepublic is two doors down on your right.
posted by dw at 10:51 AM on September 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm not expecting an overt military coup, just a new national security apparatus with no congressional oversight and accountability to the executive branch only.

Really? How are they going to do that? They have to pay for that and Congress has to agree. Listen, we would do far better on focusing on winning the election than getting all worked up about a "coup" which will never come.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:51 AM on September 24, 2008


we would do far better on focusing on winning the election than getting all worked up about a "coup" which will never come.

Very much agreed, but these are not logically mutually exclusive. After all, a few anxious and intelligent people indulging in their perhaps understandable, perhaps overblown fears is not the same as masses of mainstream Obama supporters suddenly becoming obsessively conspiratorial. So the choice you posit appears false on a few levels. This thread is a blip in a much bigger ocean. But, God forbid, something does go suspiciously haywire, the thread will also provide the small but not insignificant historical condolence that at least some people were paying attention. Here's hoping we can look back and laugh.
posted by ornate insect at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2008


So what domestic event in the last 10-20 years would they have helped with, and how? 9/11? Katrina? What "crowd control" scenarios have occurred where people have thought that we needed someone with military training?

Not hysterical, just wondering what "need" this is filling.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:02 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, we agree on a lot of the important things I think, but my point in the quoted passage, which perhaps I should have made more explicit, is that we already have a new, sprawling national security apparatus with little or no acountability, and now it has its own Army regiment.

I whole-heartedly agree with you that the best way to begin to climb out of this hole is to vote the villains out of office.
posted by Mister_A at 11:04 AM on September 24, 2008


Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.

Settle down, Beavis'. Not only have the active components of the federal military have ALWAYS responded to incidents beyond the capabilities of the local/state/federal police authorities, but they've also been trained and deployed to do so CONSTANTLY since their inception.

And even though you can point out the LA Riots, protecting the US Mail, the Bonus Riots, the Civil and Indian Wars, the attacks on 9/11 and augmentation of disaster relief services as singular incidents, the active components that are stateside have always been designated to be on alert at one time or another (there's always one), and in many cases have responded to provide assistance in a time of need. Plus they've always provided combat-ready defense for domestic installations.

I do recall something about "to protect against enemies both foreign and domestic", so there is nothing new here aside from a "homeland hillbilly" designation to make downtime/workups/alter seem to have a purpose. Get over yourselves.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2008


"Calm the hell down already. If you want to hang with the conspiracy folks, freerepublic is two doors down on your right."

Complacency rules!!

...it's not the Constitution that will give the order to fire. Nor is it the Constitution that breaks the will of these men until they do what they're told w/o question. The Constitution won't bring up the court martial proceedings when they disobey.

A military coup isn't the real concern, obviously. It's that anyone who protests the gutting of the Constitution or gov't or corporate malfeasance will be DEALT with. Holy freakin not the USA anymore.

Honestly, I hope you're right, but I don't see the advantage in sitting back and waxing complacent.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2008


I think the difference is in the intention. Previous National Guard and Army units may have been stationed in the US, trained in crowd control and even deployed in disaster situations, but I don't think any Army or National Guard unit in modern times has been stationed in the US and trained in crowd control with the intention and perhaps expectation that they will be using these skills against US citizens. That's what bothers me about this situation.
posted by 517 at 11:25 AM on September 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who won the 2000 presidential election?
Who was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001?
Was either of their names "William Jefferson Clinton?"



Al Gore
George W. Bush
No.

Okay, you got me there. I guess there's no reason to be worried about the state of our democracy after all.
posted by Naberius at 11:37 AM on September 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Who won the 2000 presidential election?

William Jefferson Clinton.

Who was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001?

A man who'd been controlled by the Clinton's NWO mind-control tools for a long time now. The same chip they put in Vince Foster's head, only now it works. I mean, come on. Nobody could screw up as long and as hard as Bush has -- Bush isn't a Republican President, he's Clinton's horrible idea of what a Republican President would be like. Now he's groomed the Obamabot to take over and "save us" from it. It's totally Feyd and Rabban all over again, but Obama's got the leather undies on.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:54 AM on September 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dude, yuck.
posted by Mister_A at 11:58 AM on September 24, 2008


Really? How are they going to do that? They have to pay for that and Congress has to agree.

Be serious. Congress would have to have a spine to be able to disagree.
Looking at the past seven years, it is clear that congress is not able to disagree. The Whitehouse says "jump" and congress says "You don't use that tone of voice with ME young man! Uh... how high?"
posted by -harlequin- at 12:06 PM on September 24, 2008


"Many people seem confused about the 'never before' aspect.
Never before has the army had a dedicated assignment to Northern Command to keep people orderly, within the United States.

An assignment for which they get their orders from the President alone - not the state governors, let alone the congress."


This is exponentially better than having Blackwater assigned to the task who answers to no one.
posted by clearly at 12:15 PM on September 24, 2008


I'm saying that this is potentially a good thing, and that whatever evil or stupid purposes the current administration might like to put them to are soon to be quite irrelevant, and if you'd like to avoid another administration along its same lines...well, you know what to do there.

uh, what? Try to campaign for electoral reform and get proportional representation? We'll be lucky if that succeeds in our lifetimes. Both McCain and Obama helped changed the law of the land to protect collaborators in illegal warrantless wiretapping from having to face justice through the courts. Not a great sign that either of them would give up the vast executive powers that will be bequeathed by the Bush Administration.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:22 PM on September 24, 2008


People have asked for more links on this specific story:

Salon

Civil Liberties Examiner.
posted by vertigo25 at 12:44 PM on September 24, 2008


While troops have previously been mobilized within the US, as they were to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, employing combat troops in any extended capacity to serve as domestic law enforcement is in open violation of the Posse Comitatus Act as it has been historically interpreted from its passage in 1878 until its dismantling under the Bush Administration.

Still, there has not been a full-scale deployment of troops within the borders of the United States since the end of the Reconstruction. This 130-year restriction on the use of military for civilian policing will end on October 1, 2008.
From Daily Kos

And keep in mind this isn't just an "extended capacity", but a permanent one.
posted by vertigo25 at 12:48 PM on September 24, 2008


Blackwater was denied their training camp on US soil near San Diego. This seems to me, on the face of it, to be the first step in desensitizing the populace for this type of activity. First, you put the military in to do this type of stuff, and when people say, "Hey, the military shouldn't be doing that," you send in the contractors. There, that's better, isn't it?
posted by Chuffy at 12:49 PM on September 24, 2008


Why aren't Canadians up in arms over their nation's proto-fascistic militarization?

wish i knew, bro. wish i knew. i mean, the RCMP isn't a military force (yet) but it has the same phone-tapping, fire-starting, red-baiting pedigree as the FBI.

as far as i'm concerned all the great things about canada are now maintained entirely by inertia. we'll vote in another government whose american counterpart we ridicule and it will systematically dismantle all the things we hold dear. white cats, black cats.
posted by klanawa at 1:14 PM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Complacency rules!!

I have a coupon for $1 off aluminum foil. Want it?
posted by dw at 2:00 PM on September 24, 2008


I guess there's no reason to be worried about the state of our democracy after all.

There are plenty of reasons to be worried about the state of our democracy.

None of them have anything to do with a single army brigade being deployed in the US.

When the hell did this turn into MilitiaFilter, anyway?
posted by dw at 2:04 PM on September 24, 2008


"I have a coupon for $1 off aluminum foil. Want it?"

Pfft. Ok, what do you think is worth giving a crap about? If having our military on call to beat us down doesn't make you worry, what does?

It's small little under the radar changes that worry me more than the faux news stories.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 2:12 PM on September 24, 2008


The issue here, dw, is that we are giving the army a permanent domestic security assignment. You don't have to be a loon to find this disturbing. I do not think an armed coup is in the offing, and I think that any suggestions to that effect in this thread are pretty obviously offered in jest.
posted by Mister_A at 2:13 PM on September 24, 2008


When the hell did this turn into MilitiaFilter, anyway?

This is what happens when you're so open-minded that your brains fall out. You swing so far to one side of political spectrum, you come around to the other side.

One guy ends up in the bunker with his canned tomatoes, thinking the right-wing government is coming to take away his liberties, side by side with the other guy in his bunker, thinking the left-wing government is coming to take away his liberties.

Guess what? You're both hiding in bunkers.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:38 PM on September 24, 2008


I'm not hiding anywhere. I've been pushed around by storm troopers at protests. All the armchair philosophers need to smell some tear gas. It really clears your mind.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 2:56 PM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't be fools, TINFOIL HATS AMPLIFY THEIR SIGNALS!

...and judging by what happens when you put it in a microwave, it wouldn't be a particularly good idea to try using it against the Active Denial Systems they have in their arsenal.

Here in Northern Ireland we've just gone through the process of demilitarisation, and there's a huge court case going on at the minute about the first use of Tasers in Northern Ireland. We also provided a not so willing test zone for the use of less lethal projectiles (rubber/plastic bullets) which have killed quite a few people.

For law enforcement purposes, a civilised nation requires policing, not military "peacekeeping". If you need "boots on the ground" for emergency response in a Katrina/Ike situation, then you should use National Guard units or create some sort of Federal Emergency Response Unit - this would be civilian in nature, and would not require military training or any less-than lethal weaponry. If crowd control measures are required, local police units should be used, this after all is part of their purpose.

Additionally, it is foolish in the extreme to say that the National Guard can't do this because they're deployed in Iraq/Afghanistan, surely it's lunacy to deploy an active service US Army unit domestically when it could be deployed where it's skills can be most usefully put to work - combat zones. Swap them if necessary, redeploy National Guard units to their home states, and put this combat unit back into the warzone.
posted by knapah at 2:57 PM on September 24, 2008


I've got a spare room, but I'm not sponsoring anyone's Visa!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:57 PM on September 24, 2008


It wouldn't be an "armed coup" anyway, it would be the use of military force to stifle dissent in a non-lethal fashion.

Now get back into your freedom cage citizen.
posted by knapah at 2:58 PM on September 24, 2008


I've been pushed around by storm troopers at protests.

Stormtroopers. Pfft.

Let us know how the Abbie Hoffman thing works out for you.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:12 PM on September 24, 2008


Has the Bush administration been honest? Have they given you any reason to trust their judgment, competence, or motivations? Do you think it is appropriate to subject any important change in the way the federal government responds to "crises" to scrutiny?

Well, no, but it's no reason post an SLYT... I want *context*, dammit!

Anyway, you know what really keeps me awake at night? Another stolen election (2000, 2004) or an assassin.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:33 PM on September 24, 2008


"I've got a spare room, but I'm not sponsoring anyone's Visa!"

The New World Order will include Canada and anyplace else your typical American would run. How about Iran or North Korea for escaping it?
posted by Sukiari at 3:46 PM on September 24, 2008


Let us know how the Abbie Hoffman thing works out for you

So what do you suggest? Sit back and take it?

Seriously, let's hear some better ideas. I'll be sitting here listening with my tinfoil Abbie Hoffman hat. :)
posted by Mr. Crowley at 4:13 PM on September 24, 2008


This bothers me. I’m a conservative. I don’t like: “Hey guyz! Let’s try this thing we’ve never done before!” just on general principles.

But a bit from each column here.
The president can already call out federal troops for national emergencies.
In fact, he can call out the troops - federal and state - whenever he likes (whenever there’s ‘unlawful obstructions’ to the authority of the U.S. that makes it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any state by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings)

NORTHCOM is commanded by a federalized national guard officer. And it draws from all service branches and they work with the FBI - et.al.

This is not new. The law has been such that the Posse Comitatus act didn’t restrict federal troops (Army, Navy, etc) from helping or aiding in law enforcement or other areas. And they could have put active duty troops in this position before this (with some haggling with the law).

It’s just been common practice and tradition that they did not. (As a conservative, I like tradition)
And now - they do.

I can’t say as I like it much. For a number of reasons. At the top of the list, given we can and have brought the troops out, why do we need it?
I mean why do we need what looks like it’s going to shape up to be something big and bulky. I’d’ve liked something like the Germans’ GSG 9.
And in terms of accountability - for rescue operations and support, I can more easily trace my local and state taxes and see where there going and how their being used than I can on the federal level.
At the very least I’ve got a better shot of getting my local politician on the phone.
And I’d rather keep my trigger pullers and my rescuers separate.

On the one hand - no, not everyone in the military is trained to kill. On the other hand - yes, they should be. There should be hefty barriers separating folks who do the shooting from folks who don’t. (To some degree there is, discipline in infantry units is much tighter) The reasons for that are obvious on one hand. But on the other - I don’t want my rank and file getting soft.

Now what this is, sure, is part of the militarization of the country and of law enforcement. The downsides of that - insofar as what’s been discussed here are debatable.

The part no body is seeing is the fetishization of the miltary. The idea that seems to be in vogue that because they’re more or less one of the few objective standards left - that they can do anything.
And so they should be deployed - like miracle elixir - in all sorts of ways and situations.

So, what, we going to have them deliver our mail next? Drive cabs? Take over the ailing passenger air transport industry?
This nation building crap in Iraq is just another symptom of that.

The military is supposed to protect you from people who would otherwise harm you, that’s all.
Not mop up domestic spills. Not create harmony between tribes.
Someone wants to kill you, they’re supposed to kill them first or die trying.
It’d be nice to let them focus on that.
Not that we have been.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:53 PM on September 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


The part no body is seeing is the fetishization of the miltary.

It has been pretty bloody obvious from this side of the border for the last few years.
posted by pompomtom at 6:14 PM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah thanks. So, you going to give us a hand when we need it or sit on the sidelines and point and laugh?
It's not like these fuckers respect borders anyway.
And it's your world too man.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:49 PM on September 24, 2008


Seeing the National Guard walk the streets during an emergency is one thing - they are trained to help and protect people in times of need. Seeing the Army is another - they are trained for one thing - to kill.

I know this is wicked late, but...

The National Guard Soldiers and the Active Duty Army Soldiers go through the same training. They all go to Basic Combat Training together, and they go to Advanced Individual Training together. We are all trained to kill, but we also all go through less lethal and crowd control techniques. The Army as a whole (to include the National Guard) is constantly adapting and changing to the situation at home and abroad to be able to perform the necessary tasks to complete whatever mission it is tasked.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 9:03 PM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, you going to give us a hand when we need it or sit on the sidelines and point and laugh?

Call me when there's a resistance.

(and 'point and cry' has been standard OP outside of the US for a while...)
posted by pompomtom at 9:06 PM on September 24, 2008


This can't be good.
posted by dougzilla at 10:24 PM on September 24, 2008


$25,000 Reward For Stolen Explosives
posted by ornate insect at 11:44 PM on September 24, 2008


...so, if I thinking it's alarming having our militia poised to turn against us qualifies me for a tin foil hat by one fellow's estimate, and standing up to people that are hindering my constitutional right to peaceably assemble makes me equivalent to a 60's protest icon (with a perceived implication of trivialization of said icon) I once again pose the question: what do the illuminated among us suggest as the right course of action in opposition of this?
posted by Mr. Crowley at 12:20 PM on September 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Call me when there's a resistance.”

What, you think we’re going to blow up railroad tracks or something?
It’s about building. From nothing.
We’ve got some decent third party stuff going in Illinois. That didn’t exist previously. You can’t expect to just show up after this stuff gets going. The work is in the execution. But do what you like.


“The Army as a whole (to include the National Guard) is constantly adapting and changing to the situation at home and abroad to be able to perform the necessary tasks to complete whatever mission it is tasked.”

Solid comment. You could set your watch by that statement. Most certainly the military can be adapted to do any mission the country desires it to do.
But point being - it shouldn’t have to.
At some point, inevitably, you’re going to have organizational drift, mission creep, yadda yadda yadda, all the same problems the Romans had with their previously* finely disciplined troops.

*Before say, the battle of Adrianople
We can argue cavalry vs. morale, discipline, etc - but they lost. And Valens, savvy as he was, had no military ability whatsoever.
So, for me at least, it’s a matter of maintaining that purity.
Last thing you want, and something this administration has proven so apt at doing, is some political hack put in a position to be working on something he has no business with.

“I once again pose the question: what do the illuminated among us suggest as the right course of action in opposition of this?”

Oversight. Demand accountability. So if we’re going to have a federal level operation like this, push your senators and reps to split the command.

For example the black panthers (RAID) in France is under the Gendarmerie - with the Sûreté retaining civil law enforcement powers.

So here - administratively you’d have your troops still under the DoD, but operationally under the Dept. of the Interior.
The Dept. of Homeland Security is a bit of an end run around that.
In the case of the Gendarmes they have some judicial oversight.
Essentially, that’s the only real problem. Who’s in charge of those troops? Who signs their checks?
I wouldn’t want that power to be directly under the President through the DoD. As it looks now, it is.

This isn’t as much of a problem in, say, France. In part because of systemic differences, but also because Congress has ceded so much war power to the President that it’s really lopsided.
In theory, they check the POTUS.

(In theory, they were against the war in Iraq, they could have stopped it. In theory only Congress has the power to declare war. In theory, troops can only go out on long term operations under the auspices of a war declared by congress.)

So, theoretically, if any POTUS got a wild hair up his rectum and decided to exercise the emergency powers previous presidents have kept pushing and pushes the military into the country - on whatever pretext - Congress can stop paying them and/or rescind the state of emergency.

In practice - you can’t argue with a loaded gun in your face no matter how right you are.

This wouldn’t be a problem at all if it weren’t that long standing checks had been hollowed out so much that it’s only tradition and lack of will (and the integrity of the military itself) preventing a coup.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:48 PM on September 25, 2008


Smedlyman-

I had more expectations from Mrs. Pelosi and others in regards to ending funding for the Iraq Invasion, but was sorely disappointed to see their collective wills crumble. Point being, even when called upon by the populace to act and stop funding, Congress did not. So if that's the last remaining check in place, it's been bypassed in at least the latest instance.

But as for the rest of what you said, quite insightful and thank you.

btw I checked out the Kristofferson song, I like it.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 2:11 PM on September 25, 2008


“So if that's the last remaining check in place, it's been bypassed in at least the latest instance.”

True. They’re still there tho. What’s really needed is to revamp how we make war. As it is, how we make war, this unilateral militarism, is revamping law enforcement - et.al.

We can fix that with new laws, a change in the system, etc.
Much as I advocate firearms ownership as a tool - it is the least important tool of any good guerilla operation. The primary force is the root legitimacy, which we have in spades. People are too used to doing things their own way. Although that’s been under attack for a while (another reason why war is a racket).

Also comforting is that conventional forces patrol, take chunks of real estate, etc.
This is in contrast to a focus on the message and public communication.
And we’ve got plenty of communication.

I’m not advocating guerilla action. The existance of such means the political process has failed. I don’t see that yet.
I mentioned blowing up railroad tracks above.
We are quite vulnerable to targeted sabotage right now.
I’d speculate that’s at least one reason things are moving the way they are.
(Hell, it’s laboring under it’s own sabotage by incompetance now - remember the bridge collapse in Minn.?)

Other things, like a general strike, mass movements, riots etc., not as possible, but given the deterioration of the economic conditions, much more likely.
I mean, I might not want to walk out if I’ve got to worry about having health care. But if my kids are eating dirt anyway - why not hit the streets?

But essentially it’s this focus on profit in oppression and monopoly of force that is creating a condition where folks might have no other option but an asymmetric response if they continue to lose in-roads to the political process and accountability for the actions of their representatives.

Right now legitimacy is a very serious strategic asset. And it’s being ignored.
And you can’t get it back with any number of troops.

I know this looks a little scary. But even in the worst case scenario (and admittedly, with perhaps many people hurt and killed) it wouldn’t be successful.

Just takes will and time. We have to keep pressing. Patience is our ally. We just have to stay involved and the country will turn.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:38 PM on September 25, 2008


From the Salon article linked above:
There’s no need to start manufacturing all sorts of scare scenarios about Bush canceling elections or the imminent declaration of martial law or anything of that sort. None of that is going to happen with a single brigade and it’s unlikely in the extreme that they’d be announcing these deployments if they had activated any such plans. The point is that the deployment is a very dangerous precedent, quite possibly illegal, and a radical abandonment of an important democratic safeguard. As always with first steps of this sort, the danger lies in how the power can be abused in the future.
posted by Crotalus at 6:09 PM on October 12, 2008


The conspiracy nuts say that Cheyenne Mountain is full of shape shifting alien reptiles, and that is why NORAD moved to Peterson Air Base. They also say that under the Denver Airport is enough people "storage" space to hold many thousands of detainees.

In all reality, I have always felt that the military should be doing this kind of thing in the US, instead of acting like the lackeys of any offshore American industry that wants to take advantage by force, of indigenous peoples who have the misfortune to live over something that corporations want. So yeah, I kind of think that we should have basic services offered to the American people by the military, it is a preparation for peaceful utilization of this great American resource.

However, since the Army is heavily populated by Evangelical crazies, who are trembling in readiness for the rapture, or end times, or whatever, it makes me nervous that all of this is going on, in light of the quarreling between the branches of the military.

In fact, anything instigated by our current administration, or their boys, makes me extremely nervous, they are not good people, their intent is nefarious on a perfectly great day.
posted by Oyéah at 6:17 PM on October 12, 2008


While it may be a bit hysterical to note that this has never been done before, at the same time we might note that for the first time (that we know of) NSA is spying on American's abroad. And I would even suggest that they are so doing domestically and have been for some time...
Now why this preparation is anyone's guess...we have an election coming up; we have a financial crisis; we have a huge fleet that for some time has been moved into the Straits of Hormuz, close to Iranian soil; we have troops and equipment training in Israel...
but what? me worry?
posted by Postroad at 6:19 PM on October 12, 2008


I don't like this for a simple-minded reason: The closer the US military comes to local law enforce, the closer Blackwater et. al. come to local law enforcement.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 6:35 PM on October 12, 2008


The Nike missile bases in the US had active duty soldiers receiving combat pay.

One of the guys stationed at a base in Berkeley told me that he'd come down the hill to watch Cal football games on the weekend.
posted by zippy at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2008


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