Military Policing of the United States
Kiser, George C., The Humanist
The current rush to law and order via military policing of the United States violates basic principles of democracy and American tradition. Until recently, the only large scale military policing of the nation had occurred in the post-Civil War South, where federal soldiers often played a major law enforcement role even after the return of civilian governments. Then in 1878, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act, declaring army searches, seizures, and arrests on American soil a penitentiary offense. This act was later extended to other branches of the military.
Yet, President Ronald Reagan resurrected the functional equivalent of military law enforcement when he declared the flow of drugs and illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexican border a threat to national security and ordered military involvement. The Reagan precedent has continued, even escalated, under George Bush and Bill Clinton--and, incredibly, all without national debate or serious congressional deliberation.
Although Posse Comitatus is still on the books, two big loopholes have enabled the Reagan Bush Clinton rush toward military policing. First, that act has never covered the National Guard. Second, Congress, at the urging of recent administrations, has passed several acts explicitly …
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Publication information: Article title: Military Policing of the United States. Contributors: Kiser, George C. - Author. Magazine title: The Humanist. Volume: 57. Issue: 3 Publication date: May-June 1997. Page number: 32+. © 1999 American Humanist Association. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
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