9/26/2005

Kiss Posse Commitatus Goodbye

Bush, anticipating future disasters, began pushing a politically sensitive proposal to give the military a larger role in search-and-rescue missions.

"Clearly, in the case of a terrorist attack, that would be the case," he said. But if there is "a natural disaster — of a certain size — that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort," Bush said.

The president said he would ask Congress to consider putting the
Pentagon in charge of disaster rescues after senior officers indicated the need for such a national plan.

His proposal divided lawmakers trying to balance an adequate federal response against trampling on states' rights.

Currently, the
Homeland Security Department and the
Federal Emergency Management Agency lead response missions in large-scale disasters. If federal troops are brought in to help, they do so in support of FEMA, through the U.S. Northern Command. The command was set up as part of a military reorganization after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Officials said that over the weekend federal teams rescued more than 400 people and treated more than 200 for injuries from Rita. They also pointed to hundreds of truckloads of food, water, ice and cots that were lacking during the immediate aftermath of Katrina...

Bush Turns to Rita's Hit on Oil Industry - Yahoo! News

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