Sunday, August 15, 2004
We're naturally glad to hear that more of our soldiers will be able to stay in the U.S., but we would like to have some small sense of what Sec. Rumsfeld plans to use them for -- especially in light of Northcom commander Gen. Ralph Eberhart's expressed desire to review "things like Posse Comitatus and other laws if we think it ties our hands in protecting the American people":
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Sunday a proposed major realignment of U.S. troops stationed overseas would take several years and very likely lead to more forces stationed in the United States with greater flexibility to meet post-Cold War challenges . . . .The posse comitatus laws, as Zemblan schoolchildren are taught at an early age, prohibit the U.S. military from taking part in domestic law enforcement. It is, of course, profoundly unlikely that troops would be needed for domestic law enforcement under a second Bush administration, unless vast numbers of citizens took to the streets in protest of some political development we cannot, at the moment, foresee; you will certainly accede that any such scenario is far-fetched in the extreme.
Rumsfeld would not say how many troops would be affected by the restructuring, but U.S. officials in Washington on Saturday said President Bush was expected to announce on Monday the withdrawal of about 70,000 U.S. troops from Europe and Asia in a realignment of military forces prompted by challenges including the war on terrorism.
"The principal characteristics of all of them taken together are that we want greater usability of our forces, that we very likely will end up with more forces back in the United States, that we will be looking for flexibility and relationships so that we can rotate forces in, and have exercises with various countries," Rumsfeld said.