A report over the weekend from the New York Times, states that in 2002 President Bush was advised then by— surprise, surprise— Vice President Dick Cheney and several Cheney allies that the President should deploy elements of the U.S Military to be deployed into a Buffalo, NY suburb to apprehend the so-called Laqawana six, a sextet of Yemense immigrants suspected of being an Al-Queda cell.
The rationale for a measure that resembles a measure that would be taken in a South American, African, or Middle Eastern autocratic government; then an American government was that the amount of evidence was not sufficient to charge the men and find them guilty. Cheney, his chief legal advisor David Attington, and some of the more neoconservative elements of the administration and Defense Department also advocated the use of Federal Military troops to apprehend the men and hold them as enemy combatants.
Thankfully for the people of Buffalo New York, the Empire State, legal precedent, U.S History, America, domestic security, and the U.S Constitution; Bush rejected the proposal by Cheney, and in a phrase I would seldom use in describing the actions of the Bush/Cheney administration— cooler heads prevailed. The FBI arrested five of the six individuals while the one remaining member was apprehended overseas.
WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.
Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.
Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force.
Regardless of the actual outcome and decision however, it is tragic and horrifying that the U.S Federal government would even contemplate using U.S military forces on its own soil to apprehend terrorism suspects and set a precedent that could allow this to be done in the future and done for other reasons. You show me a government that unleashes its armed forces on its domestic soil with no oversight, and I will show you a land ruled by tyrants. Even if you support the secretive nature and acquisition of Executive power under the Bush/Cheney administration is a non-issue and the President was bold and successful with his foreign and national security policy; do you really want say the Obama administration tio have such a power to deploy U.S military forces into U.S cities and small towns to arrest terror suspects and be used for intelligence gathering purposes? I don’t, nor would most of those who truely treasure freedom. I don’t think any administration without the approval of congress and the respective states should have that power.
The fourth Amendment of the U.S Constitution forbids unreasonable search and seizure of Americans, residences, and property. A 1878 law, the Posse Compatius Act made law in the wake of southern reconstruction, prohibits the deployment of active duty U.S military forces on U.S soil without the explicit consent of the Congress or the Constitution.
The fact that this would be suggested by any administration is shocking, terrifying and a sorry point in the history of the constitution, the American Executive Branch, and U.S History. But what is not surprising is that a suggestion would be expressed so vigorously and with such zeal if expressed at all would be from someone in the Bush/Cheney administration, and even less surprising is that it would be expressed by Dick Cheney, who relishes the accumulation and showcasing of authoritarian Executive power and such contempt for the freedoms and checks and balances that secure the values of freedom, that he comes off as being more fit as the leader of a third world military Junta or a totalitarian regime, then a strong liberty loving republic with robust democratic roots such as America. Cheney and other elements in the Bush/Cheney administration have mocked the idea of oversight, shunned anything resembling public disclosure for nearly anything, believes the fourth amendment and other privacy and civil liberties freedoms that are the reason America is great, and have cast aside the Geneva Conventions and the concept of Human Rights that America and much of the civilized world have promoted for a little over half a century.
Many in America now, especially on the Conservative right are accusing Obama and the federal government of overreach into the affairs of states and endangering freedom with such policies as the Stimulus package and his call for Health Care Reform; even calling branding him a socialist and a fascist. However, some of these same elements aren’t disturbed by such a blatantly illegal and atrocious exercise of power; and are ignorantly willing to cede any freedom if it is under the auspices of security. That is when questioning the government and applying laws that ensure that law abiding Americans and the foundation that the great chapel of America is constructed on, is most vital and that when some of the interests of the public and elements of the U.S government diverge the greatest.