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Frets About U.S. Troops on U.S. Soil

Our Readers Who Comment are engaged in an impassioned debate this morning about whether it is a good idea to have 20,000 active duty uniformed troops inside the United States who are trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe.

That's the plan Spencer S. Hsu and Ann Scott Tyson reported this morning. At this writing a preponderance of the comments oppose the plan; those readers see it as an inappropriate federal intrusion into what should be a National Guard role -- then note that the National Guard is busy overseas. Terms such as SS and Gestapo appear in several comments, usually including uncomplimentary references to President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Others disagree and point to headlines from Mumbai. Many want to know where President-elect Barack Obama stands on this.

Several asked where the Post has been on the story and why the story didn't name supporters of the plan on Capitol Hill. At least three commenters noted that the Post isn't first to report on this, and cite an earlier article in military publications.

We'll start with jvandeswaluw1, who wrote, "This decision will mean the end of America's democracy. The police force and the national guard have enough possibilities to handle any internal problem... We should hear Obama's in a loud and clear voice against this decision."

And jonstephens asked, "Does former Professor of Constitutional Law Barack Obama think this is a wonderful idea?"

But tslats said, "Entirely prudent. The rules changed after 911 and if you think your local or county officials are going to be available after a local attack, I think you're very, very wrong. Not what they're trained... for..."

And IndependentVoice2 wrote, "... this article... shows a sense of urgency and recognition of danger most Americans do not wish to see... at this point in time I do believe that this is a wise choice."

nuke41 advised, "Wow, I can see the tin foil hat and black helicopters over America crowd are out in full force over this one! Buy stock in tin foil."

dobiaslaw was less amused, writing, "I can just see the Stryker vehicles pulling up to a MacDonald's in Anytown, USA... during a time of civil unrest or supression of labor strife. I used to think that the Black Helicopter crowd was a bunch of whack-jobs, too."

gaeta14 said, "...I am completely against this alarming development. This is not the military's role--isn't that why we have the National Guard? Oh sorry--they're overseas! What an alarming expansion of Executive Branch power plus a further straining of the military's resources and manpower..."

azharo warned that "This is the next step towards fascism. You already have a govt for the corporations. Now you have military running around the country to protect against domestic "threats". Democracy is dead in the US of A. George Orwell was right."

buzzm1 suggested a different domestic use for the troops, writing, "Put them on our borders!!! STOP THE INVASION!!! FACT: In the last 22 years, over 26 million illegals, have been apprehended, after crossing the border, into our United States. THE PROBLEM IS: Less than 1, out of 4, of the invading illegals, are estimated to have been apprehended..."

But osmor replied, "buzzm, Put a sock in it. This nation has bigger things to worry about than some undocumented Mexicans running around cleaning up your office, landscaping your yard, or building your new home."

markswisshelm wrote, "A very very bad idea... Civilian police, imperfect as they may be, are trained for that type of situation. Active duty military are not. Troops rotating back from Iraq and Afghanistan are the worst possible choice for this assignment... Kent State on steroids!..."

dsrobins said, "Well, first we had GWBush's creation of the Department of Homeland Insecurity which is nothing but a Gestapo in waiting. Now, in his waning days, he apparently intends to create a huge Hitler-like SS... with no mission except to take away our freedom and constitutional rights..."

But jaday05 wrote, "The recent Indian event clearly demonstrates our vulnerabilities. I believe a domestic military role should be an intergral part of our national security."

JohnAdams1 was not happy with the journlism in writing, " names. who are the [un-named] some in Congress [who pushed for a heightened military role] and what are their names... they won't be there the next election. the biggest threat to this country are some in congress..."

We'll close with rexl who, with tongue in cheek, I hope, said, "do they really think twenty thousand will be enough when the entire nation rises up to behead the bums on wall street... surely some strafing from the air of the masses will be required also..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  December 1, 2008; 7:36 AM ET
Categories:  Military , Obama , Terrorism  | Tags: Military, Obama, Terrorism  
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Much of the historic opposition of the use of USA troops in border enforcement comes from the Texas / Mexico border. Over the years, local "accommodations" have been made and any federal troops might disrupt these "deals." Local people tied to the flow of goods and people across the border are strong to oppose troops in their areas. Perhaps they are right. In Webb County, the Sheriff is a strong political player because of his position.

Posted by: gary4books | December 1, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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