And everyone understands that staging troops within the U.S. to "help out with civil unrest and crowd control" increases the danger of overt martial law.
But no one is asking an obvious question: Does the government's own excuse for deploying the troops make any sense?
As the Washington Post writes:
Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response -- a nearly sevenfold increase in five years -- "would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable," Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted "a fundamental change in military culture," he said.
But homeland defense is doing nothing to stop the creation of new terrorists or to prevent bad guys from attacking.
If They Wanted to Stop Terrorism . . .
And the Department of Homeland Security, instead of protecting vulnerable targets, has instead randomly made up lists which include kangaroo centers, petting zoos and ice cream parlors as high-priority terrorist threats. And the administration is refusing to fill important positions at DHS so that our security can be protected.
The government is also wasting resources harassing reporters, children and other innocent American citizens instead of real terrorists (see this, this and this).
And - even if you somehow believe that the 9/11 Commission conducted an unbiased and thorough investigation and that the government was honest with the Commission (in which case, I have some swampland to sell you) - remember that the Commission made numerous recommendations on how to prevent future terrorist attacks, many of them simple and inexpensive to implement, but the Bush administration has has failed to do so (and see this and this). Moreover, they are actively blocking efforts to do so.
In other words, is the government arguing that - once the horse is out of the barn, and terrorists set off some weapons of mass destruction - then the troops will help, but the government will not lift a finger to prevent attacks in the first place?
If the government is really concerned about protecting U.S. citizens, it should:
(1) Not start any more imperial wars and stop torturing innocent people (which, for some strange reason, really pisses off the locals and may create real terrorists)
(2) Fund law enforcement efforts to locate and arrest bad guys
(3) Take real steps to secure our country by doing things like checking incoming cargo, protecting nuclear and other sensitive facilities, etc.
Deploying troops on U.S. soil violates the Constitution, moves us further down the road towards martial law, and is ridiculous - even on the basis of the government's own arguments.