Feed a cold, starve a fever. If you're feeling fluish, call the military. With all that's going on in the world, our fearless leader is wrangling for Congress to approve the use of U.S. military on U.S. soil in a law enforcement role (i.e. to force people into quarantine) to stop the spread of the avian flu pandemic should it become a problem.
I, for one, am so very pleased that our President is spending valuable time on this. Why waste energy on issues like feeding the homeless, solving the healthcare crisis in this country, ending the quagmire which is our war in Iraq, or finding housing more suitable housing than an astrodome for victims of Hurricaine Katrina? (Or perhaps President Bush shares his mother's sentiment that things are working out very well (see www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001054719, since blogger no longer allows me to do links the normal way) for impoverished evacuees from New Orleans, because they were underprivileged anyway.
But back to the bird flu. As it turns out, the avian flu is not communicable from person to person, only bird to person. This leads me to believe that the military should not be employed quarantining people, but hunting down lawless birds and rerouting them to the Cuban detention facilities where all of the other terrorists are held. Terrorists. That's what the birds are. Even more chilling, they have no need to hijack planes, because they are miniature planes themselves! Even more chilling, if highjacked by a malevolent leprachaun, the sick birds could become flying harbingers of magical disease and then even voodoo (oh, sorry, trickle down) economics won't be able to save us.
Joking aside, I find Bush's idea of repealing the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 a bit disturbing. If my superficial understanding (and the CNN article I read) is correct, it "bans the military from participating in police-type activity on U.S. soil." The Bush proposal comes in the wake of slow response to civil unrest in the wake of Katrina. The thing is (also according to the CNN article and more specifically Gene Healy of the Cato Institue) that the act does not apply to "the military's ability to respond to a crisis".
What disturbs me about overturning such an act are the doors it opens for using the military in other situations. Does this mean they could be employed to break up demonstrations? Does this mean that they could be employed to intern people for purposes other than medical quarantine? Maybe the power wouldn't be used for such things, but it's chilling to think that it could be. It reminds a lot of the stories my family has told about living under fascist and communist regimes, and that is a scary thought.