Wednesday, October 05, 2005

'Why, we'll just send in the Marines..."

What is it with the Resident? Any time there looks to be any kind of emergency or crisis, his first impulse is to call on the military to fix it.

Yesterday, he was asked in one of his rare press conferences what his administration is doing about the potential for an Avian Flu pandemic. Here is part of his answer:

The policy decisions for a president in dealing with an avian flu outbreak are difficult.

One example: If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?

It's one thing to shut down airplanes. It's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu.

And who best to be able to effect a quarantine?

One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move. So that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have.

I noticed the other day, evidently, some governors didn't like it. I understand that. I was the commander in chief of the National Guard and proudly so. And, frankly, I didn't want the president telling me how to be the commander in chief of the Texas Guard.

But Congress needs to take a look at circumstances that may need to vest the capacity of the president to move beyond that debate. And one such catastrophe or one such challenge could be an avian flu outbreak.
[Emphasis added]

First of all, apparently the Resident is forgetting the part about our currently fighting two wars and making ominous noises about Syria and Iran. Also, apparently his staff hasn't informed him about the strings of recruiting shortfalls for all branches of the active military, the reserves, and the National Guard. Our military is currently stretched so thin that it's damned near broken, if it isn't already.

Second, apparently the Resident has forgotten the Posse Comitatus law which forbids the use of the Military for domestic law enforcement. We have civil organizations to handle that, organizations more directly responsible and responsive to the local governments and citizens.

Finally, apparently the Resident has forgotten about his rather shameful connection with the Texas National Guard during his youth, a connection that was tenuous at best. I'm surprised he would even dare to allude to that.

Our democracy was intended to be civilian based, not military. The past five years has shown an administration quite eager to dismantle that intention. If we aren't careful and attentive, they just might succeed.


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