Rants and Raves

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Martial law?

Have a look here when you get a spare 10 minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3dAnSMzUlo&feature=related

A journalist has uncovered what he interprets as a plan by George Bush to declare martial law and cancel elections.

Well, I've been hearing this kind of stuff for... a long time now. Nixon was going to do it, the Clintons were going to do it, the old Japanese-American internment camps were being refurbished for all the political enemies etc etc.

I really don't consider this terribly likely for a number of reasons. The guvmint doesn't have a corps of fanatical loyalists who would arrest masses of their fellow-citizens - and if they did there are still the various armed services who take their oath to the Constitution seriously, state and local police who have quite a bit of autonomy and resentment of federal agencies such as the FBI (a.k.a. "the feebs"), and in extremis there are an awful lot of guns in private hands.

Understand, I'm not denying there are any number of politicos who would do it if they thought they could get away with it. But our country just isn't centrally organized enough for a successful coup d'etat like the Latin American and European countries have with monotonous regularity.

What I wonder is, could this be a plan of action for the day the no-name nuke detonates on American soil?

I've written about this before. We know for almost certain sure it's coming, and we know where - D.C. and Manhattan. The when is the big if. And what we do afterwards.


  • At 2:13 PM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    I don't think we need martial law after the next terrorist attack, even if it is nuclear. As we saw on 9/11, such events often bring out the best in people. They pull together, help one another, and risk their lives for one another.

    At the other extreme - Hurricane Katrina, the only racist weather pattern in history - the martial law plans, if they exist, sure crapped out for the feds. It took the National Guard to unscrew the mess, largely independent of any guidance from the feds.

  • At 2:34 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    I don't think martial law would be necessary to keep order or even organize rescue and relief efforts - my people saw that in Oklahoma City.

    What I think a brief period of martial law might be necessary for would be to establish the chain of command after the president, congress and Pentagon all go up to the stratosphere, but I suspect you'd be better qualified to speak to that than I.

    Of course, that leaves the problem of who has the authority to declare it when and if that happens.

  • At 5:36 PM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    Ah. I misread your point - and it's a good one. I know there is a "designated survivor" during each State of the Union speech. I wonder if they have such contingencies in place at all times, to include more than just the lone survivor. It seems unlikely that the Secretary of the Interior is going to single-handed piece together the federal government by himself. I sure hope they have a plan at all times, not just during the State of the Union speech.

    This was something that I often thought about when I was in the military. On one of my Iraq deployments, I was 2nd in command of an infantry company and my commander would think nothing of having me ride in his vehicle. I always refused, not only avoiding his vehicle, but avoiding even being anywhere near him on patrols. IEDs can feasibly kill everyone in the vehicle (it's happened often) - better that they only get one of us at a time. Such considerations made me even more nervous when we held memorial ceremonies for Soldiers killed in action. Every Officer in the chain of command and most of the staff officers would attend, right on up to the Brigade Commander - and often times one or more Generals would show up. A well placed rocket or mortar could have made the senior-most surviving Private the Brigade Commander. I thought it was crazy. But, then again, my worst case scenarios never actually happened. Maybe I just worry too much.

  • At 5:58 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Fascinating! And I don't think you worry too much.

    As I like to say, I know I'm paranoid. What worries me is, am I paranoid enough?

    I did get a chance to ask a few folks in D.C. about how far the designated survivor is supposed to stay from the big events (like well outside the likely blast radius maybe) and nobody seemed to know. The policy may have been ossified in the pre-nuclear age.

  • At 8:59 AM, Blogger dchamil said…

    A lot of disruption can be caused by the mere threat of a nuclear attack, let alone the reality of one. Suppose China threatens to set off a nuclear weapon in Manhattan that is even now hidden in a shipping container unless we ship them a thousand tons of rice and leave Taiwan? A similar scenario was imagined years ago by the writer John Christopher in his novel No Blade of Grass.

  • At 9:35 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    I think the plans are fairly well thought out. My understanding is that the designated survivor is completely outside of the District of Columbia. Recall after Sept. 11, when Cheney was invisible for a while.

    I recall reading that the Brits are pretty careful as well. The Queen, Charles, and William are (as much as possible) kept apart. For instance, I understand that if they are all traveling someplace, they go separately. Just in case, cuz we all know that we need the Windsors to keep the world going.


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