Many of the more liberal members of the Yale community are often the first to criticize the military and do so on groundless bases. What many members of the community often fail to see is that there are countless benefits to living in a police state.
The passing of the John Warner National Defence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2007 brings that reality just one step closer. The act gives the United States president the power to send the military into the streets without having to waste his precious time, and the valuable time of people who need help, working through bureaucracy.
Bestowing that power on the president repealed the Posse Comitatus act of 1878 which forbade the military from patrolling the streets during peacetime. The Posse Comitatus act was passed at the behest of confederates who wanted the liberating union out of the South. It was a historical mistake which allowed the South to once again take away the rights that had been given to black citizens. Had the Union army stayed in the South, history would have taken a very different course.
Let’s first consider that in the event of a state emergency, the response by appropriate authorities is immediate if martial law is already in effect. There is no need to get a signature from the governor that is then reviewed by so-and-so overpaid bureaucrat. By the time a state emergency is declared under the current system and the national guard is called and given enough time to respond, most of the infrastructure damage and personal harm have already occurred. Imagine the number of lives that would have been saved had martial law been declared at the first sign of trouble in New Orleans during Katrina. The role of the National Guard in this instance is merely crowd control. A large police force in riot gear could do the job just as well, thus rendering the Guard useless.
Beyond speeding up response time to emergencies, a perpetual state of martial law would restore much-needed order to American society.
The United States has a prison population of over 2 million people. Furthermore, over 5 million are either on probation or parole. Our prison population is the biggest in the world, surpassing that of China by almost a million. All in all, we have 25 percent of the global inmate population.
The reason so many people are in prison? A large fraction of the American population has absolutely no concept of discipline and/or morality.
Even at Yale it is not unusual to enter a room and find a bed unmade and sometimes even litter on the floor. Studies have shown that such environments lead to criminality and other devious acts. When the city of New York cracked down on graffiti in the ’90s, the crime rate dropped immediately and in some places tremendously. Our schools are no longer teaching kids the skills they need. The military state will bring the crime rate down immediately if the prescribed steps are taken. A military regimen imposed on the prison population will also allow them to return to society better rehabilitated.
Given the current rates of diabetes and childhood obesity, it is a surprise to me that masses of people are not out on the streets clamoring for martial law. Some estimates claim that as many as three out of five Americans are currently overweight. Of those three, as many as two are estimated to be clinically obese. This represents a massive drain on the fit minority. If everyone were forced to undergo mandatory military training, the health care savings to the nation would be enormous. A military state under constant martial law would also be able to better defend itself from outside threats, be it from suicidal terrorists, domestic anarchists or Iran. The current state of affairs demands that drastic measures be taken. If martial law is not soon declared, the very future of our nation will be at stake.
José Abrego is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.