General Question

z28proximo's avatar

Will America's government one day turn the military on the citizen's for total control?

Asked by z28proximo (285points) March 5th, 2009

Like a military state kind of government were the government has total control. Or even just something less than a democracy. Are we heading toward something very different one day in 10 years or 20 years?

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37 Answers

SkygreenLeopard's avatar

Hold on one second while I consult my crystal ball..

eponymoushipster's avatar

Only if “V” was a docu-drama and not a scifi story.

SuperMouse's avatar

Well goodness, I certainly hope not.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

luckily the founding fathers put an amendment in prohibiting the military to do anything on its own soil. So anything completely blatant and obvious will draw steep criticism from everybody and justify a civil war most likely.

Sakata's avatar

Please don’t forget that American soldiers are still American citizens and they will act accordingly.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Your question is kind of going on the assumption that the military itself would be receptive to the government’s order to turn on the public and exercise total control over the population. That might work in some other countries but I very highly doubt that the United States government could convince thousands upon thousands of their own troops to do what you described.

The only time it would apply is if Qualified Martial Law (in a limited capacity) or Absolute Martial Law were declared and even that possibility is very remote. Additionally, it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act which is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) which limits the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.

I’m a career military member and I would be extremely uncomfortable following an order such as this and I’m sure that all my friends in the service would feel much the same way.

marinelife's avatar

Not likely.

z28proximo's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 Is that why the military swears in with the quote, responding to all threats “foreign and domestic”? Domestic?? That’s friendly soil.

@Sakata and Bluefreedom Yeah, I’m sure almost none of the military would do something like that. But what about just a different type of government? One that works a bit different than it does now? Personally I don’t think we’re ever going to see any kind of big change. I’ve never seen it happen and don’t think I ever will. I remember a big deal being made over the president getting one-line-veto power a while back, but every bill still is stuffed full of fluff and money going out to where it doesn’t belong. Will that change? Nope.

wundayatta's avatar

Why, yes. Yes it will.

and if you believe that, there’s this bridge I’d like to sell you, fifty percent off

Bluefreedom's avatar

@z28proximo. You can interpret the domestic threat to cover any persons or groups (militias, terrorists, enemy troops, etc.) inside the United States borders or on sovereign American territory that threatens democracy and presents a danger to the public at large and their way of life.

One thing that I’ve sometimes been uncomfortable with is the president’s ability to issue Executive Orders which can seemingly lead to the potential abuse of power along with the fact that there is no Congressional approval needed for these orders.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Sooner then you & I may think!
Good question by the way!
@bluesfreedom. Re those Executive Signing Orders… here’s a MUST read!

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


What state is that bridge located? I might be interested.

@LkidKyle & @BlueFreedom

You are both correct about Posse Comitatus. BlueFreedom, you are much more correct than you know about Executive Orders. I have been warning for years about such a scenario, and thanks to the Justice Department memos released by President Obama this week, we have learned that we were much closer to a military dictatorship with George Bush than most could ever imagine. The direct Justice Department website link with those memos can be found here

There are nine total and three of them are titled as follows:
Memorandum Regarding October 23, 2001 OLC Opinion Addressing the Domestic Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities (10–06-2008)
Memorandum Regarding Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a) to Military Detention of United States Citizens (06–27-2002)
Memorandum Regarding Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities within the United States (10–23-2001)

One must understand that the government’s definition of terrorist is very broad. If you look at House Resolution 1955, which passed the house 404–6, it includes definitions such as:
2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.

This kind of language may make it applicable to protesters. There has been many reports of surveillance of protesters and FISA can make it that much easier.

In Feb. 2007, the NY Times had an editorial called Making Martial Law Easier.

I can’t quite figure out if it is still in affect, but the John Warner Defense Spending bill of 2007
includes this:
Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law

`(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies- (1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to—

`(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that—

`(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and

`(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or

`(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).

I have a lot of respect for Obama after he released those Bush memos. However, I am still concerned because NOT A SINGLE LAW that makes all of this possible, has been repealed as of right now. Obama is much more powerful than Bush ever was because he has one thing that Bush didn’t…. the trust of the people.

The Patriot Act, FISA, Military Commissions Act, and a number of Executive Orders are still sitting around, just waiting to be used to their full potential.

For those that are still optimistic, I would recommend reading It Cant Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis or They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer.

I figured Id add a few links to some good stories pertaining to the recently released Bush memos.
How Close the Bush Bullet
Memos Provide Blueprint for Police State
The Newly Released Secret Laws of the Bush Administration
John Dean: Bush almost became an ‘unconstitutional dictator

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


Thank you for you service. I always said that this could never happen because our troops are also American and they would not do this to us.

Then I found out about the company called Xe, formerly known as Blackwater. They are a mercenary army, most of whom have military experience, but get paid ALOT of money to follow their orders.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@chris6137. You’re welcome. While it is true that many employees of the Blackwater corporation have prior military experience, they are a private contractor and they do not fall under and are not commanded by the United States armed forces. I honestly cannot see the American government ever trying to supplement or supplant the U.S. military with private contractors or mercenaries. It would be a very bad situation if that were attempted, in my opinion.

As far as the high wages that Blackwater pays out, you’re not kidding. A friend of mine who is also in my Security Forces Squadron took a leave of absence for a year to work for Blackwater in Iraq. He was paid about $15,000 a month during his one year contract.

Jack79's avatar

If you give any country enough time, all sorts of things may happen. I don’t think this scenario is very likely in the next 10 years, but you never know what could happen in the future and what sorts of people may come to power. I’m pretty sure that sooner or later something like that is bound to hit the US, just like it has done for older countries all these centuries.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@chris6137 and @Bagardbilla. Thank you both for the interesting and sobering links to the articles that you posted. The material was quite thought provoking and even frightening considering the potential outcomes if some of those things did or could come to pass.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


That’s the thing. These things did pass. They are in effect. They are just waiting for a terror attack or an economic collapse complete with civil unrest to use these laws that are still in effect.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

It is the destiny of all republics is it not? Every republic has their Ceaser sooner or later.

dynamicduo's avatar

I would hope that the second America turns its back on its democracy, American citizens take up their arms and pitchforks and take back their country through force. You know, keep with the spirit of the founding fathers and all.

ubersiren's avatar

Probably. There are already small demonstrations of this when there are riots or at John Kerry speeches… any time someone in power feels the least bit threatened they use max capacity to maintain the “crazed” public. Don’t tase me bro! And thanks to the second amendment being completely misunderstood, nobody will be armed for our own defense. With the eminent destruction of our empire, it’s only a matter of time. Build your bunkers now! It’s all going to hell!

Bagardbilla's avatar

In democrasies, freedom is always taken away in small portions. Until one morning you wake up and it all gone!

asmonet's avatar

The last eight years was something less than democracy. But quite frankly, don’t you think you’re being a bit silly?

bodyhead's avatar

It wouldn’t be for comlpete control. Like the patriot act, it would be for our own best intrest to have all of our rights taken away. Since the majority of people are idiots, we will probably vote to have our rights taken away.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Talk to them down South and they’ll tell you Sherman did that when he burned Atlanta in 1864.

Talk to them again, and they will tell you Eisenhower did that when he sent Federal troops to Little Rock, AK, in 1957.

And then, there’s this:

You can sort of talk to me about that. I was at Ohio State, 100 miles south at the time. There were troops there, too, but all they were shooting at us was tear gas.

DREW_R's avatar

I don’t feel they will use US forces. They will employ NATO and UN ground forces to keep our soldiers out of it.

DREW_R's avatar

They will use foreign troops such as NATO and the UN to quell any “threat”.

Darbio16's avatar

Shhhh, you guys should be quiet, Rockefeller and crew might hear you!

TexasDude's avatar

I really doubt it.

The vast majority of the US military, when polled, said they would absolutely not fire upon US civilians if ordered to.

Darbio16's avatar

Yeah, the U.S. military might not, but what about NATO and UN ‘peacekeepers’?

TexasDude's avatar

@Darbio16, well I guess that’s what the rifle “behind every blade of grass” is for…

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Well, Dick Cheney tried to invade send troops into Buffalo to apprehend some “terrorists” back in 2002.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s almost inevitable. No political entity lasts forever, and the USA is probably not going to be the exception that proves the rule. I would prefer that the transition to a different form of government be peaceful, but that’s not very likely either. Fortunately ( or perhaps UNfortunately! ) the military will divide into factions should they be ordered to attack their own citizens: there will be some who obey those sorts of orders, and others who will recognize those as illegal orders and refuse to follow them. Another civil war would follow, with far more casualties than any other war in history. I am almost glad I won’t be here to see it. : (

CaptainHarley's avatar


Obama has the trust of the people??? OMG! Aaahahahahahahahahahaha! That’s HILARIOUS! : D

That frakkin’ snake-oil salesman! I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could THROW him, and I’d LIKE to throw him in the East China Sea!

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@CaptainHarley , non sequitur. Unless you believe that shit about FEMA camps.

CaptainHarley's avatar

So what was my premise, what was my conclusion, and where was the disconnect?

The post was a statement of my own opinion, and not intended to be a formal statement of logic.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@CaptainHarley , beats the shit out of me. It wasn’t coherent enough to qualify as an opinion.

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