So Bush administration officials were willing to test the constitutionality ofusing the military on US soil to arrest the Lackawanna 6:
WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated
testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of
Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.
argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic
soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the
Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.
Yet when it came to this…
…at least one key Bush administration officialargued the unconstitutionality of sending federal troops to ya know…save lives:
Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of
alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using
active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one
of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the
The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New
Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with
the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that
morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”
“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”
McHale argues that Rumsfeld’s caution was due to his conviction that
Bush could not send in the military as de facto law-enforcement
officers under the Insurrection Act. But as one of the top lawyers
involved in such scenarios for Katrina would say, “That in my mind was
just a stall tactic so as not to get the active-duty military engaged.
All you needed to do was use them for logistics.”
Ultimately, Rumsfeld’s obfuscations about National Guard rotations,
unity-of-command challenges, and the Insurrection Act did not serve his
commander in chief, says one senior official intimately involved with
the whole saga: “There’s a difference between saying to the president
of the United States, ‘I understand, and let me solve it,’ and making
the president figure out the right question to ask.”
“What it’s about,” says this official, “is recognizing that in an
emergency, the appearance of control has real operational significance.
If people are panicked, everything becomes harder. If we had put those
troops in on Thursday, the narrative of Katrina would be a very
For Dick and Don the Constitution wasn’t the foundation of legal authority of the United States to which they must adhere. No for them it was an Obstacle. At times it was an inconvenient obstacle to be overcome and at other times a convenient obstacle to be used as a roadblock. In the end that wonderful document, our legacy from the founders, didn’t really mean jack shit to them and thus what an awful legacy they in turn have left.