Continuous resource wars, military law enforcement more likely

Continuous resource wars, military law enforcement more likely

By Aditya Ganapathiraju

The Daily

A new Army report offered a stark and candid prediction of the next 30-40 years in conflict. 

While the report makes the predictable mention of terrorism, it is remarkable because it envisions an emerging “era of persistent warfare" over resources with competitors like Russia and China.

"We face a potential return to traditional security threats posed by emerging near-peers as we compete globally for depleting natural resources and overseas markets," the report entitled 2008 Army Modernization Strategy [1] said.

This obvious reference to Russia and China will startle international diplomatic circles, Tom Clonan observed in the Irish Times[2] , as it completely does away with the usual overtures to humanitarian concerns or democracy and freedom.

The report outlines how increasing wealth and power disparities along with population growth—termed a “youth bulge"—in the developing world will lead to “resource competition” due to growing numbers that will need increasing amounts of food, water and energy.

The author, Lieutenant General Stephen M. Speakes, also takes in account of the dangers posed by climate change and natural disasters in future conflicts.

As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently warned of a "creeping militarization"[3]  of foreign policy, the effects of this militarism may soon be coming home.

As the Army Times [4] recently noted a unit of U.S. Army is now being trained and deployed for domestic purposes. 

Having spent more than half of the last 60 months working in Iraq, the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team is to be deployed Oct. 1st as an “on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.”

In addition to potentially dealing with the devastating effects of a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack, the 1st BCT may also be tasked with “civil unrest and crowd control,” using a “new modular package of nonlethal capabilities,” parts of which have been developed in use in Iraq, according the 1st BCT’s commander Col. Roger Cloutier.

“It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home,” said Cloutier. 

The Army Times notes that once the 1st BCT completes their mission, another will take its place and “the mission will be a permanent one."

The Insurrection Act of 1807 and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, passed after the Civil War, prohibited the use of US military units at home without very stringent requirements being met. 

Those laws have been dramatically weakened with a key provision in Section 1076 of the 2007 John Warner National Defense Authorization Act, adding a new list of conditions that would “[make] it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law,” the New York Times [5] said in an 2007 editorial entitled “Making Martial Law Easier.”

 “The new law expands the list [of conditions] to include ‘natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition’—and such ‘condition’ is not defined or limited,” wrote James Bouvard in the American Conservative [6] magazine, adding that “Section 1076 is Enabling Act-type legislation—something that purports to preserve law-and-order while formally empowering the president to rule by decree.”

The provision was slipped into the huge defense bill with little debate and no official mention back in 2007, although it had broad bipartisan support whose backers included authors Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) both having openly endorsed it.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) condemned the provision along with every state governor, including Gov. Gregoire, who pledged to fight it with others at a Q&A on campus[7]  last year.  The language would give the president control of states’ National Guard units, normally under the control of governors. Ultimately, their efforts were pushed aside by the White House and majorities in Congress.

Civil rights lawyer Glenn Greenwald [8] noted on Salon.com that although the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act sought to limit some of the powers of the provision, the president issued a “signing statement” [9] in January where he asserted the right to disregard the new limits to presidential power.



Leave a comment