hightower
November 4, 2005

 

Martial law for bird flu?
by Jim Hightower

William O. Douglas wrote: "Just as nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwilling victims of the darkness."

He could have been describing the oppressive tendencies of the Bushites. They never miss a chance to try slipping America's thin rug of democracy out from under us by enhancing executive power at the expense of our nation's historic democratic principles. Their latest tug at the rug comes in the guise of responding to — of all things — the possibility of an outbreak of bird flu.

George W himself is asserting that this possibility is reason enough for congress to bestow upon him the power to use America's military to enforce domestic order — in essence, to impose martial law on our own people! "I think the president ought to have all options on the table, all assets on the table — to be able to deal with something this significant," says George.

Excuse us, George, we know what a thinker you are, but the Big Thinkers who founded our democratic republic knew that using soldiers for civilian law enforcement is an inherent danger to liberty. That's why a fundamental tenant of American law is to ban the military from a police role on U.S. soil.

But, say the Bushites with a wink, we're talking about a "catastrophe" in which the Pentagon would be the only agency with the money and personnel to respond. They wink because they know that they've been enthusiastic anti-government ideologues defunding and degrading our public health service, which is the proper channel for coping with a national health emergency.

Instead of asserting autocratic executive power and trying to militarize America, Bush should do his job by revitalizing our country's public health system... while also protecting our democratic principles.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com.


              
              
                 

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