American Coup by William M. Arkin

American Coup by William M. Arkin

Author:William M. Arkin [ARKIN, WILLIAM M.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Political Science / American Government - National, Political Science / Security, Political Science / Constitutions, Political Science / Terrorism, History / Military - United States
ISBN: 9780316251259
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: 2013-09-09T16:00:00+00:00

One might think that Governor Blanco—long since voted out of office—would be the hero and harbinger of what a model National Guard for the twenty-first century might look like, what with her resisting Washington’s coup and declining to turn over state control to the dual command of subordinated unity. Far from it. Instead, governors and National Guard heads clamored so desperately to be consulted and to be a part of the decision-making, to preserve their role as the first of first responders, and fought so hard for prestigious Washington-conferred titles and authorities, they ultimately weakened the states. The institutions Washington demanded, the command relationships, the necessary technical and procedural commonality, combined with the complex paper trail of “assistance” and mutual support, left the National Guards and state homeland security and intelligence establishments so crisscrossed across state borders and so enmeshed in Washington’s primacies that their very quality as local militia, citizen soldiers, and checks on federal domination was swallowed whole.

And then there are the exceptions, which the governors explicitly accepted as being just two: conditions of invasion or “attack”—homeland defense—and public unrest.29 But two was actually just the beginning. The Pentagon also demanded that it be in charge in any matters that had to do with its bases or its “interests,”30 and there were the additional exceptions of WMD and counterterrorism crisis management and government continuity, not to mention Title 10 missions themselves; Title 10 means “war,” that is, the Guard service in any foreign wars waged by the United States, even when the activity takes place from American soil. The National Guard, in its own domestic operations manual, admits perhaps the biggest exception of all: state leadership, it says, would be overridden if “the [active] military [responded] to an emergency involving the use of a weapon of mass destruction, or a terrorist attack, or threatened terrorist attack that results, or could result, in a significant loss of life or property if the President determines that the requirements for emergency response exceed the capabilities of the local, state, and federal agencies.”31 In other words, for every condition that precipitated negotiations, the outcome was an exception.

The governors certainly mediated a more pleasing outcome than overt federal takeover, and emerged with a more powerful voice by uniting as one, now able to fight more effectively for Defense Department money in Washington battles, not an inconsequential short-term victory. But they did so oblivious to the fact that they are slowly losing control over their own hallowed independent military formations while presiding over the erosion of elected civilian control of America, in blissful ignorance of the dynamics and ambitions that exist between the lines.


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