HIGHTOWER: U.S. Troops on U.S. Soil

No need to worry about our liberties being taken from us by a foreign military invasion-our own military can invade us and do the job without having a shot being fired against them!This might sound like some thriller movie like "Enemy of the State," where secret forces are deployed to eliminate citizens who are politically inconvenient, but this time it's not fiction. Secretary of Defense William Cohen is establishing a new military command that will direct troops for domestic law enforcement. Never mind that this is in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which bars the deployment of military forces against our own people on our own soil. Cohen brusquely brushes aside any such niceties, saying: "The American people should not be concerned about it. They should welcome it."Holy Paul Revere! Welcome it? Not only is this illegal...it's stupid. First, the military is not trained to be police, soldiers are trained to shoot what moves and ask questions later. Ask Zeke Hernandez. But you can't -- this 18 year-old U.S. citizen living on the Texas border with Mexico was gunned down in 1997 by three marines who were deployed to help the border patrol stop Mexican drug traffickers. Zeke was a goat herder, not a drug dealer. Second, soldiers are trained to fight "enemies," so putting them on domestic patrol makes us citizens the enemy. Plus, it pits them against their own people, which has got to be ethically confusing and a morale bummer for the troops. Third, if there is a need for a massive force beyond the abilities of local, state, and national police -- we already have the National Guard, which can be called out by state governors.This is all being done to "fight terrorism," but who are the terrorists? Putting a permanent military force in our back yards makes us the suspects.This is Jim Hightower saying...Our liberties are less endangered by foreign madmen than by some of our own authorities.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.