JOURNAL: Current | Archives | Previous | Next

Ho Hum

Drudge links to this report on the fact Tom Ridge has stated that using the military in support of some police actions ought to be discussed, whatever the outcome of the discussion.

My immediate reaction was that such an idea is terrible, for many reasons.

And then I actually took the time to read the article.

I'm sure all of the civil liberties bloggers are all going to jump all over this one and tear it and Tom Ridge to shreds, but it might be worth noting first what Ridge (and the article) actually said:

Ridge downplayed the notion that the government would move to give members of the military authority to arrest U.S. citizen. The subject hasn't yet come up for debate in the administration, though it might be discussed once Bush's homeland security department is created....

``Generally that goes against our instincts as a country to empower the military with the ability to arrest,'' Ridge said on ``Late Edition'' on the Cable News Network. Discussing it ``does not mean that it will ever be used or that the discussion will conclude that it even should be used.''

He said government officials have talked about ways the military might support civilian law officers ``in the event of rather unusual circumstances.''

``We need to be talking about military assets, in anticipation of a crisis event,'' Ridge said. ``And clearly, if you're talking about using the military, then you should have a discussion about Posse Comitatus.''
That's the extent of the discussion from Ridge. No big conspiracy to take away civil liberties, and if anything, Senator Biden seems more keen to move in this direction than Ridge.

I'm still no fan of empowering the military for internal police actions (and it made the Founders kind of nervous as well), but there may be terrorist scenarios where it makes some sense. Surely raising the matter for discussion isn't a reason to get hysterical over lost civil liberties.

[Posted at 23:50 CST on 07/21/02] [Link]

Movable Type

If you can read this, your browser does not fully comply with standards. You can still view the site via the navigation bar below.

Reductio (old) | Journal | Glossary | Search | Bio | Photos | Disclaimer