Wednesday, October 05, 2005


“President” Bush said yesterday that he would consider using the armed forces to enforce quarantines should there be an outbreak of avian flu in the United States. It would thus seem that Bush has never heard of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

The Act reads as follows:

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.

The Navy and Marines have been included in the Act by a Department of Defense regulation.

There are exceptions to the Act, e.g. episodes involving nuclear materials, but my search (cursory as it was) did not reveal any mention of ‘in the case of disease or pandemic’.

It would be a good idea to have a plan in place to prevent the spread of disease should there be a mutation of avian flu which produces a strain that is passed from human to human, but our military should not be involved. Besides, last I heard, they were pretty busy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

23 comments:

Riggs is Crazy said...

I can't understand why liberals don't like Bush. He's definitely not a conservative. He's ClinToon lite.

AG said...

We're not liberal, we're progressive. He's regressive. I like living in an enlightened environment, and he wants to turn out the lights forever.

He's broken the law before and will do so again because he wants to get them "dead or alive", and he's done neither.

Tits Malone said...

MM,

Having lived through the SARS epidemic in Toronto, I think it would increase the problems rather than coordinate them. It was bad enough having a city of 3 million people freaking out over a new disease no one know anything about.
I don’t think seeing tanks and armed weapons rolling through the streets would have helped out with a respiratory illness.

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

Is there anything that doesnt scare you or freak you out?


How about banana splits or puppies?

Riggs is Crazy said...

AG, I have two questions for you.

1) Define progressive and compare it to liberal. Thanks in advance.

2) Name a President that didn't "break the law?" Did Toon not break the law when he helped the genocide in Serbia? Or when he bombed aspirin factories?

Tits Malone said...

SS,

Why not stick to the issue at hand...

Max said...

Riggs, please stop trying to label everyone. It's counter-productive.

All presidents have been corrupt - it seems to be the nature of the job.

Why Max doesn't like Bush: he's a friggin' moron and I have no patience for stupid people. It's a character flaw, I know, but I can't help it.

Tits Malone said...

MM,

Having a plan in place is a great idea...SARS only took a few lives but the social and business fallout was pretty brutal. I can't imagine what a seriously contagious flu would do. It has been almost a hundred years since the Influenza epidemic - it makes sense to be prepared - but what does the USA's military have to do with medical research? Is there a section of the army that deals with medical situations – or would that be something like the Red Cross?

Anonymous said...

TM,

Cause I dont want to.

Sinister Steve said...

Riggs,

You ever been to the titty bars in Windsor? They're great. That and Degrassi Jr. High.

Riggs is Crazy said...

MM said: Riggs, please stop trying to label everyone. It's counter-productive.


Riggs says: You lost me. Who did I label? AG used progressive and I have no clue what that means. It's an auto insurance company to my knowledge.

Riggs is Crazy said...

SS,

Yes, I've been to said places in Windsor. I've never watched DeGrassi though.

Sinister Steve said...

Riggs,

If you are having problems with your auto insurance call GEICO. Its so easy even a caveman could us it.

Riggs is Crazy said...

Those commercials are really offensive. Besides, Cavemen are the reason we have this new flu epidemic thing. Dirty buggers.

Sinister Steve said...

Riggs,

Have you ever tried Socialist Insurance? You pay your two neighbors premiums even if you dont have a car.

Riggs is Crazy said...

lmao. I live in California, so pretty much everything is socialist here. However, Arnie did just sign a bill that denies sex offenders free viagra. A step in the right direction. I think I was more shocked that that they were getting free viagra though and that we needed this bill to stop it. Unbelievable.

Sinister Steve said...

How the hell am i supposed to get a boner now?

Sinister Steve said...

Isnt a boner a civil right like wireless internet?

Riggs is Crazy said...

I'll have to ask Mayor Newsom about that. It should be.

Skeeter said...

MM,

As far as all presidents being corrupt, I don't believe you can say "all", some definitely, but not all.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your premise here, MM, just some thoughts on the subject:

The law, was championed by far-sighted Southern lawmakers in 1878. They had experienced a fifteen year military occupation by the US Army in post-Civil War law enforcement. They understood the heel of a jackboot.

In a nutshell, this act bans the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from participating in arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other police-type activity on U.S. soil. The Coast Guard and National Guard troops under the control of state governors are excluded from the act.

Currently, America's military is largely prohibited from acting as a domestic police force. And while the presence of military "advisors" during the siege, brutality and slaughter at WACO Texas (Thanks to Clinton) set ominous trends in motion, few thought in terms of its implications. But that was before the terrorism of September 11, 2001, now glibly called "911."

As it stands congress would have to enact a law authorizing the use of military for quarantining purposes. I think if (or rather when) it hits our shores, congress will probably vote on it.

I'm not sure what the answer is here, but at least Bush is putting this stuff on the table for people to discuss. And he's doing the right thing by bringing this topic of Avian flu out in the open.

First, however, people need to realize what's at stake. Ask yourself this question: Would you potentially let millions of people die to uphold an act of congress?

So let's say we enforce the act, would you still quarantine the region where the outbreak is? If not, why not? If you would, who would do it?

Since the act excludes coast guard and national guard, the governor of my state would deploy the national guard, I would hope.

not sure, still thinking about it, need more input...innnpuuuut

Max said...

TM, I actually don't know the answer to your question as to whether or not the army has anything to do with medical research. I think the military does research into diseases linked with bio, chemical and nuclear weapons. If anyone actually knows the facts, please contribute.

Riggs, so sorry, I thought you were labeling me a liberal with your first comment.

Skeeter, you are right, I should not say "all" have been corrupt. At the risk of offending Riggs and SS, I will say that I don't think Carter was corrupt, just as an example.

Thanks for all of your info on the Posse Comitatus Act - I am sure it will help people better understand it. I probably should have taken the time to explain all of that myself, but I wrote my post at work so just decided to assume that people would either know what it was about or do their own research.

The armed forces were also mobilised for the LA riots of 1992, which happened before WACO. I was living in Monterey at the time, and could hear the planes carrying troops from Fort Ord taking off from Monterey airport.

In addition to the possibility of an Act of Congress mobilising troops, the president can also assume "emergency powers".

Bush was pushed by members of Congress to get the issue of avian flu out there for discussion. It was not his idea.

I don't have answers to the rest of your questions. I understand that it would be a very difficult situation requiring a lot of advance discussion and preparation. However I do believe that there must be a better way than mobilising our armed forces to try to enforce quarantines.

Tits Malone said...

MM,

I just saw a documentary on the influenza empidemic - It was interesting to think that one of the reasons the flu was so global was the fact infected armed forces were returning from WWI.

I suppose all you really can do is wash your hands often...

Audie said...

Riggs is Crazy said...
"I can't understand why liberals don't like Bush"

How 'bout this, just for starters?

http://gprime.net/video.php/presidentialspeechalist