There’s a good chance that this horrendous proposal being floated by the Bush administration may pass because of the media attention and liberal complaints that the military wasn’t used quickly enough during Hurricane Katrina. Allowing the President to use the military to deal with a public health matter is probably the worst idea I’ve heard since Jimmy Carter and the windfall profits tax. The purpose of the federal military is to defend citizens, not to corral them. There was a reason that appropriations for armed forces were limited to two years in the Constitution, that quartering soldiers in private homes was restricted and so on. A standing army is a huge threat to liberty and removing the restrictions and safeguards on it, allowing it to be used willy nilly for every emergency is wrong.
I do have to agree with the President that “it’s an important debate for Congress to have.” Hopefully he’s showing some of that much overlooked wit and letting Congress have the debate with no real intention of pushing hard for this awful idea.
President Bush said Tuesday that the possibility of an avian flu pandemic is among the reasons he wants Congress to give him the power to use the nation’s military in law enforcement roles in the United States.
“I’m concerned about what an avian flu outbreak could mean for the United States and the world,” he told reporters during a Rose Garden news conference.
Such an deadly event would raise difficult questions, such as how a quarantine might be enforced, he said.
“One option is the use of a military that’s able to plan and move,” he said. “So that’s why I put it on the table. I think it’s an important debate for Congress to have.”