This article explores concerns that the U.S. military is increasingly seen as appropriate for large scale use in quelling domestic civil unrest. Much has been written on the subject recently, but this is the first time I have seen it addressed by Jonathan Turley, a respected attorney and by no means a right-wing-nut. He finds some discussions of the topic chilling, but says

even more chilling is the lack of national debate as the Obama Administration continues the expansion of the military into domestic law enforcement and operations. It is indeed a “vision for the future” — the question is whether this is the vision that most citizens have for their government and themselves.

Other questions, of course, include the legalities of such uses.


Civil libertarians have been concerned for years with the move toward greater use of the military in domestic operations by both President George W. Bush and now by President Barack Obama. The military continues to shift resources for prepare for large-scale domestic operations. Most recently, the Marines moved to create a battalion to allow the military to “be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects.” Now the Small Wars Journal, a respected publication closely followed in the U.S. military, has published an article entitled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future” by retired Army Col. Kevin Benson of the Army’s University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Jennifer Weber, a Civil War expert at the University of Kansas. It lays out not just the military but the legal…

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About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
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3 Responses to

  1. Boeke says:

    I agree: it looks like Americas presidents, with the full cooperation of a supine congress, are running full-speed into dictatorship. The NDAA and the so-called “Patriot Act” are breathtakingly subversive of traditional and constitutional rights of US citizens. Now, it seems, the President can order the assassination of a US citizen, even on foreign soil.

    Sometimes overlooked is the baleful influence of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) on taking over our local police forces. The JTTF centralizes police control of our municipalities and local governments in remote and mysterious federal agencies.

    • Thanks, Boeke. The questions as I see them are

      “Is it as bad as it seems?” I think it is and perhaps worse. Another answer is, “It’s none of your business so don’t worry about it.”

      The other question is “what can be done about it?” If the answer is “nothing,” we have a big problem and had better find a better answer.

  2. This is getting scary, Dan. Even if Romney wins the presidency and Republicans control both Houses, I don’t expect them to change the NDAA. It needs to be changed. The US should not be considered a battle fin the war on terrorism. domestic “terrorist” should be dealt with by police and FBI. We are embarking on a very slippery slope, which could easily end in a police state. I will never forgive for the Patriot Act, which is anything but patriotic.

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