10/4/2005 7:34:57 PM Pacific Standard Time
Dunno if you heard it today...came and went with virtually no comment on CNN but was a bombshell that we knew was coming sooner or later. And now he's said it. Bush was commenting on the possibility of an H5N1 pandemic and said flat out that the President out to have the powers to "move beyond" normal limitations and command the National Guard (he said that specifically) and otherwise use Federal troops to respond to certain emergency conditions, such as for example, enforcing a quarantine.
What blew me away is that Paula Zahn wasn't even phased by this toss away comment and none of the reporters in the scrum picked up on it. They immediately moved to the bird flu angle and on comes Sanjay Gupta.
This (buried) extract from the CNN website:
The consequences of an outbreak in the United States need to be addressed before catastrophe strikes, Bush said.
The president said that he sees things differently than he did as governor of Texas. "I didn't want the president telling me how to be the commander in chief of the Texas Guard," he said. "But Congress needs to take a look at circumstances that may need to vest the capacity of the president to move beyond that debate. And one such catastrophe or one such challenge could be an avian flu outbreak."
So there it is. He's finally dropped
the long awaited bombshell. It is no longer in the realm of paranoid speculation
by "conspiracy theorists". The President has openly said we wants the power
to assume direct command of the National Guard, use Federal troops in violation
of the Posse Comatatus Act and have the ability to declare martial law. Now
all we have to do is get the press to stop dozing at the switch and do their
Oh, by the way, check out the CNN Quick Vote on the question: Should there be a U.S. law enforcement role for the military during domestic emergencies? Note that 55% of respondents say "yes". Crikey! You know, the NeoCons must have thought they had died and gone to heaven when Katrina blew in. Sure Bush has taken his lumps for a muddled Federal response but he's also making the argument that maybe the Feds and the Prez actually need MORE power. And good guys like Lt. Gen. Russ Honore leave everybody feeling so warm and fuzzy it is oh so easy to now persuade the masses that "hey, just think how good we would be if we had real power to run the whole show". Easy sale. Check the CNN poll. The NeoCons have already closed the deal.
10/4/2005 10:27:18 PM Pacific Standard Time
...what is more scary is Bush's statement that in a pandemic you might need to quarantine "areas" of the country. We know from experience (SARS) that's not how these things work. There won't be "areas" that have been infected, it will be peppered throughout the population.
What he really means is using soldiers to round up the sick and ship them off to "quarantine camps", with shoot-to-kill orders to handle uncooperative citizens.
But maybe the camps won't be exclusively for H5N1 victims. Just imaging how compliant the population would become if you knew that all some bureaucrat had to do was to "declare" you infected, even if you weren't, to have you shipped off to die in an H5N1 camp. Fred-the-Outspoken-One will disappear one night. The next morning people will nervously (and knowingly) report that Fred was "sick" and was sent to quarantine. Two weeks into this, everyone in the country will know of people who have been "sent away". It will be the dirty secret, like the death camps in Germany in WWII, that everyone knew about but dared not mention, lest they end up there as well. And then you'll toe the party line right quick.
This anticipated pandemic will just be another excuse. I'm thinking New Zealand is looking pretty good right about now.