Posted at LP.org
Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr says government plans to deploy 20,000 uniformed soldiers inside the United States "ignores all the tragic lessons we have learned from using the U.S. military in domestic crises."
"When combat troops are used for domestic law enforcement, rights are inevitably violated and tragedies occur, such as when the military was improperly activated to assist in the tragedy at Waco, Texas in 1993. This domestic use of the military resulted in the loss of some 80 men, women and children," says Barr, the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential nominee. "The government’s plan to deploy initially 20,000 uniformed military personnel inside the United States goes against everything we have learned about using soldiers as police officers. Not only do these plans appear to be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act—which forbids the use of the military in law enforcement on non-federal property—but it also opens up the American public to dangerous Constitutional violations."
Barr says his concerns are greatly heightened by the conclusion reached by the current Bush Administration in a classified 2001 Department of Justice memo. The memo stated that the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, does not apply to the U.S. military when it engages in “domestic” operations.
"When the military operates in the United States, as the federal government now intends it to do, it does so without respect or deference to the Constitution," says Barr. "The federal government plans to render every American citizen defenseless against government abuse during any crisis situation—be it a flood, hurricane, or other natural disaster—where U.S. military personnel will be used to supplement local law enforcement."
"We do not need to militarize Mayberry," says Barr.
"I fought against this type of gross expansion of government authority while I was in Congress," says Barr. "I called for a full investigation of the Waco Siege when it became clear that government used excessive force in their raid, which cost the lives of many innocent Americans. The ‘culture of militarism’ in the federal government turned Waco into an American tragedy. Should this trend of militarism be allowed to continue, it will only be a matter of time before we have another avoidable tragedy on our hands."
Libertarian Party National Chairman William Redpath released a similar statement on Tuesday of this week, saying the government’s plans represented "evidence of a disturbing trend of militarism in today’s society."
Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. Congressman Barr was the 2008 Libertarian Party Nominee for President, receiving the second-highest vote totals for a presidential candidate in the history of the Libertarian Party.
For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with Congressman Barr, please email Andy MacPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-BOB-BARR.
The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.