NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, September 23, 2005

For writers wanting swifter federal hurricane aid

This article at The American Thinker should help letter writers that do not understand the laws governing State/Federal relationship under the Posse Comitatus Act, and the Stafford Act.
Hurricane Katrina revealed the need for a much better ability to respond to the possible catastrophes - natural or man-made - which may hit our major cities. On Thursday, September 15, in the wake of Katrina, President Bush said:

“It is now clear that a challenge of this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces – the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment’s notice.”

But you can’t do that, opined columnists and pundits. Any broader role for the armed forces would violate the Posse Comitatus Act. And then with the assuredness of a gambler with aces up a sleeve, they would cite that Act:

“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.” (Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1385)

Simply put: a president is barred by law from deploying federal troops to the several states in a law enforcement role. That is why President Bush asked Governor Blanco of Louisiana to mobilize the Louisiana National Guard and formally ask for federal assistance, only to have her demur for 24 hours.
The phrase posse comitatus, translated from Medieval Latin, means “power or force of the county.” Derived from British Common Law, it refers to a body of men whom a sheriff can raise to help keep the peace.
If Blanco was screaming for help, she sure took her time. (Emphasis mine)

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Blogger Frederic Christie said...

Except after her call for help went through (and different timelines tell different stories), Bush continued to do nothing and waste vital resources. In any respect, a good Lucinda Marshall piece notes how Bush's current activity of going to friggin NORAD to manage the response to Rita indicates how far gone we are as a police state.

Fri Sep 23, 03:35:00 PM PDT  

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