The idea of American troops invading Canada -- as satired by the late John Candy and his offensive-line mate director Michael Moore in the film "Canadian Bacon" -- was a concept too silly even for good satire. But sending our fighting men and women into the streets of Buffalo, that idea made perfect sense!
The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the military from law enforcement activities within the United States. If armed officers are going to knock on Americans’ doors, or arrest them in the streets, they should answer to civilian authorities.
Despite this bedrock principle, The Times’s Mark Mazzetti and David Johnston reported last week, top Bush administration officials, including (no surprise) Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that the president had the authority to use the military to round up a suspected terrorist cell known as the Lackawanna Six.
Mr. Cheney and others cited a legal memorandum co-written by John C. Yoo (author of the infamous torture memo), which made the baseless claim that the military can go after accused Al Qaeda terrorists on United States soil because it would be a matter of national security, not law enforcement.
I was off for a couple of days when this story first broke, but I come back to it because...I just don't get it. Did Cheney and his posse really think that the FBI and local law enforcement weren't up to the task of arresting these six suspects? (Because clearly, they were.) If not that, what broader point were they trying to make in seeking to use the military for this unconstitutional purpose?
Maybe Yoo will "make sense" of it all in his next Inquirer column. Whatever their goal was, America is a better place because this did not happen.