Meh Culpa

National Guard Defense Subsumed by Army?

Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman reports that on October 1, 2008, the 3d Infantry Division’s 1st Combat Brigade Team will report to Northern Command on US soil to help with civil unrest and crowd control and to assist in various terrorism scenarios. This is the first time in US history that the Army has been used for such a mission, since as per the 2nd Amendment it is the purpose of the US National Guard and other Reserve forces to act as the “well regulated militia”, handling domestic emergencies under US CODE Title 32, § 904 as well as foreign invasions.

Many are calling the move the beginning of martial law. The concern is not helped by the existence of Presidential Directive 51, which provides for a policy of continuity for government structures during a “Catastrophic Emergency,” defined as any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.” Some, including the editors of Tennessee’s Chatanoogan consider this directive, which Bush signed into law May 9, 2007, to prepare for martial law and to establish a dictatorship under the current president.

According to the directive, when the president decides a catastrophic emergency has occurred, he can take over the entire government. “Ironically, the directive sees no contradiction in the assumption of dictatorial powers b the President with the goal of maintaining constitutional continuity through an emergency,” the editors of the Chatanoogan wrote. In addition the directive provides for presidential succession in consultation with the Vice President as if the Constitution does not.

Although unlikely, it is possible the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Combat Brigade has been deployed to the States because the National Guard has been stretched thin in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Forces Press Service reported in May that “About 25,000 active-duty troops assigned to a division headquarters and seven brigade combat teams will begin to deploy to Iraq this fall, and continue through the year’s end.”

However, as late as November 2007, California Assemblywoman Loni Hancock argued for bringing the National Guard home, saying that the depletion of the National Guard on American soil has left the states with smaller resources in case of natural disasters. Others have expressed similar views.


September 26, 2008 Posted by | 51, Bill of Rights, Bush administration, civil liberties, Defense, politics, Presidential Directives, U.S. Northern Command, US Constitution | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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