The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 23, 2013, 07:30 AM   #1
Eppie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2010
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 795
Posse Comitatus laws

I am not a lawyer, but there may be some out there. I wonder if someone could educated me about Posse Comitatus.

One of the things that has always irked me is the Posse Comitatus laws prohibiting use of the military on the homeland. I can't think on anything that is more fundamental to national security then border integrity. Yet our armed forces with all their gear are forced to sit on bases and do nothing when they could seal the borders tight as a drum.

In these days of tight budgets the use of the military for border security should be a no brainer, yet no one is talking about it.
__________________
"Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.” -Vladimir Lenin
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson (An early warning to Obama care)

Last edited by Eppie; April 23, 2013 at 07:41 AM.
Eppie is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 08:51 AM   #2
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
You're missing part of Posse Comitatus.

Posse Comitatus means that the Federal Government cannot use the military as a police organization against the citizenry of the United States. (Normally, there's always exceptions)

When the Alabama National Guard was Nationalized and used to force compliance with the verdict in Brown v Board of Education for example, was one of those exceptions. Generally exceptions can be classified as emergencies or instances where local police organizations can not or will not enforce the laws- Natural Disasters, Rioting, and the like.

(Not a lawyer, so anyone who can correct and/or describe it better is welcome to over-rule me)

It would be legal and permissabe to stick all our military on the borders with Canada and Mexico. It would not be quite be as permissible to have them conduct the border checkpoints- that duty is part of ICE.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 10:20 AM   #3
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,403
I don't see how this debate is gun-related, and I'm getting that IBTL feeling, but let me put my $0.02 in.

The main reason that the USA isn't using the military to patrol the border is that there is already an agency charged with doing it- the Border Patrol. If the Border Patrol does not have adequate resources to get the job done, then the issue is inadequate Border Patrol, DHS, and/or ICE funding, and not Posse Comitatus.

IMHO the military's job is to fight foreign military forces, NOT to act as a police force, and their training and organizational structure reflects this. Furthermore, I would argue that the histories of countries that have extensively used the military as domestic police- notably and ironically including Mexico- illustrate that the concept can cause more problems than it solves.

I find it ironic that this forum has frequent threads expressing alarm about the militarization of American police, yet here is a thread expressing support for using the military AS police.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 10:28 AM   #4
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Quote:
I don't see how this debate is gun-related
While this board as a whole is firearms specific, the description of this particular forum is 2A, other civil rights, and the laws that affect them.

International travel is a right, crossing borders, who is allowed to do what in the security of the borders we cross are rights and laws affecting them.

I don't think the troops are not lining the borders because ICE is, or isn't because ICE isn't underfunded for the job they have to do, but because they can't engage in their readiness training and drills on the border as well as they can in proving grounds, and exercise areas way out of the Nevada Desert etc.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 10:38 AM   #5
rwilson452
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 10, 2004
Location: Tioga co. PA
Posts: 2,358
As I recall they stationed some marines on the border some time ago a juvenile goatherd got shot by them when he started plinking in their direction.

That spelled a big political bruhaha and the marines were gone.
__________________
USNRET '61-'81
rwilson452 is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 10:41 AM   #6
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
To be honest, I wouldn't mind some "training exercises" on the border and in the gulf for drug interdiction.

They've got the tools to find the people sneaking across on foot/trucks and the homemade submarines we're seeing on the news lately.

Plus if they're roving, they're unlikely to shoot back at a boyscout plinking with a 22 that doesn't know Camp PotBlocker is just over the hill.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 10:50 AM   #7
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
JimDandy beat me to it, but L&CR has an exemption from being specifically firearms related.

Meanwhile, Eppie, I agree with carguychris that we argue from a strange place, when we dislike the militarization of police but want to use the military as police. Not somewhere we want to go.

However, when not mobilized by the President in time of war, the National Guard falls under the control of its respective states and governors. So, if the border states wanted to use their National Guard units in a border patrol mode, they could. I am not sure what the rules would be with regard to state vs NGB funding for such operations, but suspect the burden would fall primarily or exclusively on the state, so I doubt we will see much of that.

The thing is, Posse Commitatus came about as a direct result of resentment of Union troops occupying the former Confederacy during Reconstruction. Civilians really, really disliked martial law, and while I can understand the rationale behind Reconstruction, it was something that Lincoln had not intended to do. (Read up on it; Johnson and his allies pushed Reconstruction - so John Wilkes Booth really screwed his buddies when he shot the President who would have prevented the following occupation. Irony, don't you love it?)

So, 140 years later, people may think using the military as cops would be a great idea. When we did it before, it did not turn out be be well-regarded, and many historians feel that much of the turmoil of the pre-Civil Rights era was a direct result of the resentment inspired by Reconstruction.

(Note that many of the same historians feel that Hitler could never have done what he did, if the allies hadn't made the Germans sign the Treaty of Versailles in a railcar...)
MLeake is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 10:54 AM   #8
DMK
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2001
Location: Over the hills and far, far away
Posts: 2,297
Quote:
They've got the tools to find the people sneaking across on foot/trucks and the homemade submarines we're seeing on the news lately.
It's my understanding that it is perfectly legal for the Border Patrol, DEA, USCG, etc to request the use of military (USAF, USN, etc) assets to help them with surveillance, detection, tracking, interception, etc. However, the LE agency (or USCG) personnel must get the warrants and make the arrest.

I believe this was the intent of DHS. To allow these services to interact and share. In reality, we still have departmental turf wars and budget hording.
DMK is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 11:04 AM   #9
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Quote:
regard to state vs NGB funding for such operations, but suspect the burden would fall primarily or exclusively on the state, so I doubt we will see much of that.
I believe that they probably get some base level of Federal Funding to keep their readiness at a certain level. I've heard anecdotally of Helicopter and fighter pilots being required to repeatedly Touch-And-Go at their airfields to get enough hours to maintain their flight rating.

The National Guard helicopters also perform a lot of Search And Rescue (SAR) functions when hikers, and climbers get lost and/or injured out here between the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. I assume with at least some Federal Funding given the readiness applications of this "training" and the "interstate commerce" possibility of someone from out of state getting lost in a park/mountain/etc.

Quote:
So, 140 years later, people may think using the military as cops would be a great idea.
I think we have it right. Civil unrest like the LA Riots, Malfeasance by the government like the Stand In The Schoolhouse Door, and National Disasters like Katrina can justify it for VERY specific and short time periods.

Further, I don't think Posse Comitatus should or would affect Foreign Nationals entering the country illegally. Especially those smuggling in a Clear And Present Danger to our communities.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 11:05 AM   #10
lcpiper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2011
Posts: 1,405
Eppe posted the same sentiment in the General Discussion area and you guys brought up most of the points I did.

Eppe, right now, this day, our troops are unprepared for conventional warfare. This is not speculation, it's from direct observation of Active Duty units going through training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA. I worked there for a year until recently. They are shifting the training focus to reintroduce conventional maneuver combat skills and they are finding that 10 years of playing super cop in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in our troops no longer knowing how to kill a real enemy army equipped with tanks and artillery and organized structure and doctrine.

So what would 10 years of patrolling our borders do to them?

If you give them a task, they will throw themselves at that task and master it, but they will forget the others if they aren't part of the current mission. Could be bad for national survival.

Besides, we already pay others to do it, we just need leadership that will let them do it.
__________________
Colt M1911, AR-15 | S&W Model 19, Model 27| SIG P238 | Berreta 85B Cheetah | Ruger Blackhawk .357MAG, Bearcat "Shopkeeper" .22LR| Remington Marine Magnum SP 12GA., Model 700 SPS .223
lcpiper is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 11:27 AM   #11
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Quote:
If you give them a task, they will throw themselves at that task and master it, but they will forget the others if they aren't part of the current mission.
Such is the nature of things. I imagine our forces would be pretty lost in a jungle today.

Perhaps, the solution is both specialization and rotations through distinctly different scenarios year round. One rotation at the NTC, one interdicting on the border, one at Fort Drum vs the 10th Mountain, an a trip to Camp Gonsalves for example.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 12:27 PM   #12
csmsss
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Orange, TX
Posts: 2,979
Unless and until you can correct the lack of will on the part of our elected officials, it is entirely irrelevant *which* federal agency or surrogate "enforces" immigration law and "protects" our borders.
csmsss is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 12:31 PM   #13
lcpiper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2011
Posts: 1,405
Exactly correct csmsss.
__________________
Colt M1911, AR-15 | S&W Model 19, Model 27| SIG P238 | Berreta 85B Cheetah | Ruger Blackhawk .357MAG, Bearcat "Shopkeeper" .22LR| Remington Marine Magnum SP 12GA., Model 700 SPS .223
lcpiper is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 12:37 PM   #14
Eppie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2010
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 795
I appreciate all your responses.

Let me be clear, I am in no way advocating using the military as police. The last thing I'd want is 18 year-olds with automatic weapons in any city or town.

It seems that most people see border security more as a police function then a military defense function and I can understand people feeling that way since we aren't being invaded by an army, but by civilians. My bad, thanks for educating me.
__________________
"Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.” -Vladimir Lenin
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson (An early warning to Obama care)
Eppie is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 12:41 PM   #15
btmj
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2011
Location: Near St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 747
Quote:
....right now, this day, our troops are unprepared for conventional warfare. This is not speculation, it's from direct observation of Active Duty units going through training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA. I worked there for a year until recently. They are shifting the training focus to reintroduce conventional maneuver combat skills and they are finding that 10 years of playing super cop in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in our troops no longer knowing how to kill a real enemy army equipped with tanks and artillery and organized structure and doctrine.

Agree... This is the kind of war we have been involved in for the last 10 years. A counter insurgency campaign against an enemy whose primary weapons are (1) terrorizing the local population into submission and (2) booby traps (IEDs) set against the vastly superior friendly forces.

We are/were fighting an enemy that does not have a single tank, helicopter, or fixed wing aircraft.... when are we ever going to face such an enemy again?

Our future enemies will not only have tanks, helicopters, and combat aircraft, they will also have combat ships, attack submarines, advanced anti-aircraft defenses, satellite intelligence, UAVs, electronic warfare, cyber warfare, and who knows what else.
btmj is online now  
Old April 23, 2013, 12:43 PM   #16
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Oh, I think there are three levels of "policing" we're talking about, not just two.

The obvious two are securing the borders vs an invading army, and the police powers of the states vs citizens and legal residents.

The Army has been used, even in this century against non-governmental marauding bandits- something easily comparable to the drug smuggling currently going on. Jack Pershing tangled with Pancho Villa in the Mexican Expedition just prior to Word War I.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 03:11 PM   #17
rwilson452
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 10, 2004
Location: Tioga co. PA
Posts: 2,358
At one time, maybe even today they were using EC3 Hawkeye ( navy) aircraft to track aircraft smuggling into the states ( and Cuba) They may have been "loaned" to the CG but I wasn't part of that.
__________________
USNRET '61-'81
rwilson452 is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 03:22 PM   #18
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
They may have even been Coast Guard property, they do a fair bit of work on that side with weather flights and rescue flights as well.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 23, 2013, 05:27 PM   #19
lcpiper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2011
Posts: 1,405
Quote:
Our future enemies will not only have tanks, helicopters, and combat aircraft, they will also have combat ships, attack submarines, advanced anti-aircraft defenses, satellite intelligence, UAVs, electronic warfare, cyber warfare, and who knows what else.
Working here at the Intelligence School I remember back around 2003 hearing Officers saying that we would never have to fight a conventional war again. I thought that was a foolish prediction then, and I still do.

The National Guard has been deployed recently to Arizona on Border duty, I think it was a Brigade that is made up of parts of the Minnesota and Iowa Guard.

Here is a link to an article about it.
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2...national-guard
__________________
Colt M1911, AR-15 | S&W Model 19, Model 27| SIG P238 | Berreta 85B Cheetah | Ruger Blackhawk .357MAG, Bearcat "Shopkeeper" .22LR| Remington Marine Magnum SP 12GA., Model 700 SPS .223
lcpiper is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 10:19 AM   #20
SPEMack618
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2010
Location: Central Georgia
Posts: 1,379
A newer guy in my squad called me about thirty minutes after the Boston attacks made the new. He asked, "Sergeant are we going to do anything?"

After getting over the still odd feeling of being called Sergeant (most of the guys in my squad call me Mack) I asked him to think critically a moment.

As an Armored Cavalry unit, what exactly could we do? He sheepishly said "oh". I told him that when I got the word, he'd get it to. And we bid farewell.

The U.S. military, particulary the Army is a hammer. A really well designed, modern, all steel with rubber shock absorbing handle, but still a hammer. When you use a hammer, there had best be a nail to hit.

If the Guard were to deploy to the border, it had better be because of an imminent attack by elements of the Mexican Army. The Army is not designed to stop smugglers, nor is it designed to deploy for long periods of time without a clear purpose. The 38th parallel and the old West German border served an example of what the Army is suppose to do in regards to border security. And note that North Korea still manages to inflitrate teams of commandoes into South Korea from time to time.

Further more, it would be a logistical nightmare if ground forces were deployed to the Mexican border. Like upwards of millions of dollars a day to keep a force large enough to secure the whole border.

No, the Guard does just fine in it's current mission of disaster relief and small scale martial law.
__________________
NRA Life Member
"Had King Kong showed up in Texas, Frank Hamer would have taken him down with his Model 8 in .35 Remington...well, he was kind of big, so maybe his BAR"
SPEMack618 is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 10:35 AM   #21
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Quote:
The Army is not designed to stop smugglers, nor is it designed to deploy for long periods of time without a clear purpose.
I agree with the long periods of time part. I believe, however that the Army would do quite well stopping smugglers if they ran exercises on the border. Between a proving ground over here for Apache attack runs, Kiowas running reconnaissance missions, and Tanks, Bradleys, and Strikers engaging in maneuver drills, it would be very easy for them to catch someone on Infrared in a prohibited area, and direct a few MP's in a HMMWV to find out what they were doing there.

I'm not suggesting the Army be there strictly for interdiction, but that they do the same activities as they do already at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin. They won't cover the entire border obviously, but they could drastically shrink the area ICE and Border Patrol would have to worry about.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 10:39 AM   #22
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
For a while, maybe, until the smugglers paid a few bribes and posted a few observers. There are few places where aircraft and helicopter sorties can't be monitored.
MLeake is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 10:50 AM   #23
lcpiper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2011
Posts: 1,405
No way.

They would have those kids running around out there without ammo. Really guys, everyone assumes that Soldier + Weapon = Lethality. But they never give them any ammo unless they actually are in combat or doing live fire.

They do not want to explain how someones' dead boy was killed because some bone head put the red magazine in his weapon instead of the blue magazine.

Immediately after 911 we had students(soldiers) here at Fort Huachuca posted as security at the buildings and other possible targets on the base. They all had weapons, not any of them had ammo.

I complained that terrorists didn't need to bring anything more then a pistol or a good knife along with a bandolier of ammo in magazines to have a real party. It made no difference.

This would only get some soldiers killed.

The Border Patrol has every resource they need to do the job except the one that is most important, the orders to do so.
__________________
Colt M1911, AR-15 | S&W Model 19, Model 27| SIG P238 | Berreta 85B Cheetah | Ruger Blackhawk .357MAG, Bearcat "Shopkeeper" .22LR| Remington Marine Magnum SP 12GA., Model 700 SPS .223
lcpiper is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 10:52 AM   #24
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Quote:
They would have those kids running around out there without ammo. Really guys, everyone assumes that Soldier + Weapon = Lethality
Actually I assumed the MP's and any Border Patrol "observers" would have the live rounds, while the tanks, Brads and Kiowas had the radar, and IR.
JimDandy is offline  
Old April 24, 2013, 11:00 AM   #25
SPEMack618
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2010
Location: Central Georgia
Posts: 1,379
The Georgia Guard sent a few units, like one or two platoons at most, to the border back in '08.

In talking to some of those guys, the rules set in place for them in regards to weapons were so onerous as to be unitelligible.

Even worse was the confusion that reigned between the USBP guys and the Guard over whom was supposed to be protecting whom.

Edited to add:

My issue is with U.S. Army ground units, be they state or federal, being used in active interdiction along the border.

Military ISR assests would be of great help to the CBP guys, in my opinion. And that is good real world training for them, too.
__________________
NRA Life Member
"Had King Kong showed up in Texas, Frank Hamer would have taken him down with his Model 8 in .35 Remington...well, he was kind of big, so maybe his BAR"

Last edited by SPEMack618; April 24, 2013 at 11:07 AM.
SPEMack618 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13034 seconds with 7 queries