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Cato on greater military powers

I rarely agree with the Cato Institute, but "Domestic Militarization: A Disaster in the Making" is highly recommended:

Having already wrecked a legendary American city, Hurricane Katrina may now be invoked to undermine a fundamental principle of American law;.that principle, enshrined in the Posse Comitatus Act, is that when it comes to domestic policing, the military should be a last resort, not a first responder...
...What [Posse Comitatus] does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role. That reflects America's traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that's well-justified.
There are very good reasons to resist any push toward domestic militarization. As one federal court has explained, "military personnel must be trained to operate under circumstances where the protection of constitutional freedoms cannot receive the consideration needed in order to assure their preservation. The Posse Comitatus statute is intended to meet that danger." Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, commander of the federal troops helping out in New Orleans, seemed to recognize that danger when he ordered his soldiers to keep their guns pointed down: "This isn't Iraq," he growled...
...The Katrina tragedy ought to be an occasion for rethinking a number of federal policies, including our promiscuous use of the Guard abroad. Instead, Washington seems poised to embrace further centralization and militarization at home. That has the makings of a policy disaster that would dwarf Hurricane Katrina.

For more, see "Military tells Bush they should take control after disaster" and Bush, Warner, Rumsfeld, Pentagon want bigger military role; "very archaic laws".

Vin Suprynowicz: Self-sufficiency vs. the Welfare State

From libertarian - but don' t hold that against him - Vin Suprynowicz:

What cameramen found at and near the Superdome the next day, as the floodwaters rose, were members of a mostly black underclass with no resources of their own, a people who over a period of generations have come to expect someone else -- through the cash redistribution agency known as "government" -- to provide them with or heavily subsidize their housing, their transportation, their health care, even their children's schooling...
...And those who were not busy looting were not merely pleading for help. They were angry. They were shouting into the cameras, addressing someone out there -- the government? Us? -- who they believed owed them an obligation to "get on down here" and bring them some stuff. Food, water, whatever they needed. Bring it to us -- the message seemed clear -- or we're just going to take it.
Americans were once a people proud of their relative self-sufficiency. Yes, we lend our neighbors a helping hand. But my family and the families of most Americans were essentially penniless 70 years ago. Since the Great Depression, we have worked and saved until we have some assets. We set aside for the future...
...Self-sufficiency has survival value. Applied over a period of generations, the welfare state can breed self-sufficiency out of a people.
Look at the fate of the mendicant classes in New Orleans -- the ones who trusted government to "provide." Look at what happened to the property of the merchants who trusted their taxes were buying them "police protection." And beware.

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