Dr. Glen Barry / Earth Meanders – 2005-09-19 00:21:56
(September 18, 2005) — One of America’s primary civil rights – freedom from military rule — is under assault. In the next national catastrophe, President Bush wants the military to play an increased role. One immediate consequence of Hurricane Katrina may be removal of long-standing legal limits for deploying the US military upon American soil.
This is ludicrous as Hurricane Katrina was an unnatural disaster; with root causes of its destructive deadliness lying in coastal habitat destruction, unplanned urban sprawl placing large populations in harms way, and global warming caused intensification of the hurricane’s strength . Military might cannot prevent or mitigate global ecological collapse.
There is every reason to be worried about President Bush’s rush to subordinate civilian authorities to the armed forces. In times of terrorism, military adventurism and regional ecosystem collapse — deploying the US military to the streets and cities of America is incautious and potentially dangerous.
Not content with spying on its citizens and checking what they read at the library, Americans are now told their security requires soldiers on their streets. Creeping erosion of civil liberties under the vacuous rhetoric of security serves the interests of the new conservative (neocon) elite, laying the groundwork for future crushing of legitimate political dissent, while doing little to prevent or respond to human exacerbated natural disasters.
As has happened elsewhere in the past, a failing market economy under an exaggerated foreign threat is moving towards militarism and fascism.
I have written previously about America’s military response to oil scarcity, noting that an American conservative fascism had arisen that threatens the Earth’s existence, and proposed an alternative agenda towards a secure, demilitarized and environmentally sustainable future.
As well as continuing its long history of global military interventionism, in recent years the US Army has been involved in an unprecedented and still expanding number of domestic deployments including disaster relief, military support to law enforcement in the war against drugs, and military support of various other types to federal law enforcement agencies.
There are long standing legal bulwarks preventing the Army from acting as a domestic police force which President Bush wishes to remove. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits federal military personnel from acting in a domestic law enforcement capacity. This act bans the federal active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from participating in arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other police-type activity on US soil.
The Insurrection Act, dating to the first year of the Civil War in 1861, already permits a president to use federal troops to enforce federal laws in times of domestic rebellion, and could have been used in New Orleans to waive the law enforcement restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Good reasons exist to maintain the traditional ban. The military is not trained to be a police force. We do not want as a matter of routine American active-duty military forces patrolling the streets of American cities. It sets a very bad precedent. It subordinates local and state civilian authority to military authority. It creates the potential for a particularly assertive president to use the substantial power of the US military domestically for less-than-noble purposes at some point in the future. Use of federal troops in America’s (or anyone’s) streets should remain an extraordinary event to be avoided at all costs, and certainly not be planned as a routine response to disaster.
In times of Ecological Collapse, the world is doubly threatened by Creeping Fascist Responses.
The neocons’ next target is the military occupation of the United States. Relaxing rules to allow faster deployment of American troops in the United States plays into the hands of the right wing, oil oligarchy. The Bush fascists pursue economic growth with no thought of ecological limits, refusing to acknowledge the impact of oil upon the climate or our need for large forest habitats. As a result of habitat loss, climate change and over-population, natural disasters are increasingly deadly.
This ecological collapse results in social disorder; and the elites deploy the military to consolidate their power. At this point the lack of free discourse and suspension of civil liberties stifles community efforts necessary to achieve equitable and just ecological sustainability. Under the fascist neocon agenda, the human family’s future is one of super affluent and clearly unsustainable lifestyles for the relative few maintained at the point of the gun.
And the world’s and America’s poor are relegated to ravaged natural ecosystems from which they are left to eke out a living. Should the majority desire more in the way of liberty, equity and justice; a US Marine will be on each street corner to swiftly put an end to such talk.
The human family has no future if the response to ecological catastrophe is to be denial and calling in the military. Some will find this shrill, but please forgive my passion as we discuss the Earth’s and humanity’s demise. I understand it is difficult for Americans in particular to hear their way of life is a deadly lie. Nor does the media want to tell this unpleasant story.
A Green Libertarian Future
There are several alternative approaches better suited to responding more quickly and effectively to human strengthened natural disasters. These include investing in civilian first responders, with a national emergency response team that can be deployed instantly anywhere in the nation.
We can stop destroying and start restoring natural ecosystems which buffer humanity from storm surges and other natural events. We can stop developing cities and industries in harms way, leaving flood prone areas as natural ecosystems. We can get serious about drastically curbing carbon dioxide and human over-population, as Katrina was one of the first of many human exacerbated natural disasters to come.
And most importantly, we can embrace a future based upon sustainable development, global equity and justice – all financed by an international military demobilization. Only then will a future of perma-war and abject misery be avoided.
Americans are stunned and in a state of shock after the stolen 2000 election, the criminal attacks of 911, failed military adventurism and now Hurricane Katrina. All lay bare the fragility and unsustainability of America’s liberties and standard of living. There are fundamental choices that must be made. In a world of scarcity and environmental decline, will America become a police state, or re-embrace freedom and liberty and all the attendant risks?
The price of liberty always includes a certain amount of insecurity, and yes, even death. The alternative is a totalitarian state which may get water to a disaster faster; but which stifles freedoms, creativity and individuality required to be fully human — the same traits necessary to fashion sustainable societies.
As the elite begin to suffer ecological collapse and social strife of their own making, the proposal to remove limits upon deployment of the US military domestically would allow the elite to stifle legitimate dissent in order to maintain their preeminent position in society.
At that point, America will have completed its descent into a poverty stricken, despotic and ecologically depauperate banana republic. America desperately needs a Green Libertarian movement to lead the way to survival.
Dr. Glen Barry is President of Ecological Internet, Inc., PO Box 433, Denmark, WI 54208
USA GlenBarry@EcologicalInternet.org. +1 920 776 1075 phone
Ecological Internet’s projects include:
• ClimateArk — http://www.climateark.org/
WaterConserve — http://www.waterconserve.info/
• Forests.org — http://forests.org/
• Eco-Portal — http://www.environmentalsustainability.info/
• Ocean Conserve — http://www.oceanconserve.info/