'Question 46,' Revisited

By William Norman Grigg

Reproduced from Lewrockwell.com

JPFO additions – The John F.McManus review of the 29 Palms Survey
Also - "Working for the Clampdown" by James Bovard



"Hey, Will – we just got a letter from a Marine saying that he was part of a project dealing with civilian arms confiscation by the military. Are you interested?"

It had been a fairly slow morning up until the point Dave Bohon, at the time the managing editor for The New American, came down to the research department with the aforementioned letter clutched in his hands and a puzzled expression inscribed in his aquiline features.

Practically leaping out of my chair, I grabbed the proffered letter, a handwritten missive attached to a multi-page document called a "Combat Arms Survey". I read both the letter and the questionnaire with a sense of mingled dread and excitement.

As students of the federalization and militarization of law enforcement, my associates and I knew things of this sort had to be happening, but proving it was somewhat difficult. Here was a letter that seemed to provide the dreadful confirmation. While it would be useful to see our suspicions vindicated, we couldn't exactly take pleasure in the knowledge that one of our worst fears appeared to be taking tangible form.

The letter's return address was Twentynine Palms Marine Base in California, and the author – a Marine Lance Corporal – had provided contact information. After reading the letter three or four times, I called the phone number and contacted the Marine. We spoke for about a half hour, during which time he described the incident in greater detail.

The Marine was one of several hundred with combat experience in recent deployments abroad assembled to take the survey. Our conversation took place in late May 1994; accordingly, the pool of combat veterans included those who had served in Panama, the first Gulf War, and Somalia. They mustered in a mess hall and given a 46-question survey composed by Navy Lt. Commander Ernest "Guy" Cunningham, who was working on a Master's Thesis dealing with the deployment of US military units under foreign command as part of UN-supervised missions abroad.

While there was much in the survey that a Constitutionalist would find objectionable – for instance, Marines were asked about their willingness to swear an oath of allegiance to the United Nations – the final question was positively thermonuclear:

"The US government declares a ban on the possession, sale, transportation, and transfer of all non-sporting firearms. A thirty (30) day amnesty period is permitted for these firearms to be turned over to the local authorities. At the end of this period, a number of citizen groups refuse to turn over their firearms. Consider the following statement: I would fire upon US citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the US government."

As it happens, Cunningham was not promoting civilian disarmament, or the cession of the US military to UN control. He was using his survey to determine the extent to which such policy choices would have the support of military personnel who had served in combat abroad.

When Cunningham released his findings it was revealed that more than 61 percent of the Marines who took the survey responded that they wouldn't carry out such an order under any circumstances. Many of them took the time to expand upon their answers through comments in the margin of the survey, often written in language that would bring a maidenly blush to the gnarled cheeks of Deadwood's Al Swearengen.

Of course, it was gratifying to know that most of the combat veterans surveyed by Cunningham emphatically rejected the concept of domestic civilian disarmament by the military. However, the study did suggest the existence of a sizable pool of military personnel willing to carry out that mission. In that particular group, 79 Marines – a little more than a quarter of those surveyed – replied to Question 46 in the affirmative, a response Cunningham said "showed an alarming ignorance of the Posse Comitatus Act ... and of how to treat an unlawful order."

Now, roughly fifteen years later, it's hardly clear that the order to gun down American civilians defending their innate right to armed self-defense would be considered unlawful, at least in a positivist sense, by a majority of service personnel.

In September 2006, - on the same day the Bush Regime effectively dismantled the habeas corpus guarantee, it inflicted what may be lethal injury to the Posse Comitatus Act as well by providing the president with the means to make the National Guard units of all 50 states into his personal army, to be deployed domestically in any way he sees fit. At least three combat brigades are now assigned to domestic duty as a homeland security force under Northern Command.

Those troops would supposedly be used for the sole purpose of dealing with catastrophic events, such as terrorism involving the use of non-conventional weapons; however, the initial report indicated that these combat veterans, during their domestic deployment, would be equipped and trained to deal with crowd control and other population management tasks. This is why the unit would be outfitted with "non-lethal" weaponry, in addition to the conventional variety.

As I've noted in previous reports, active-duty military personnel were deeply involved in hands-on law enforcement (including the use of satellite and other surveillance technology) during the 2008 political conventions in Denver and St. Paul. Last Friday (December 12) brought another ominous expansion of the role of active-duty military personnel in routine law enforcement when elements of the California Highway Patrol conducted a joint "sobriety/driver's license checkpoint" alongside the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Office and a contingent of Military Police from the US Marine Corps.

Of particular interest to me is the fact that this troubling venture involves the Twenty Nine Palms Air Ground Combat Center. This may be completely insignificant. But it is an odd and unsettling coincidence, at the very least.

Sobriety checkpoints are a perfectly mundane (but by no means harmless) law enforcement function; they don't involve catastrophic circumstances, either natural or man-made.

Attorney Lawrence Taylor, whose specialized practice deals entirely with those caught in the Constitution-free zone of DUI enforcement (a form of plunder disguised as a public safety exercise that is itself sufficiently outrageous to justify widescale insurrection) reports that his inquiries with a local USMC public affairs sergeant "resulted in assurances that the Marines would be there `as observers.'"

"Hmmmm.... military observers," mused Taylor. "Isn't that how it all starts?"

Indeed it is, and if the Regime ruling us wants to get serious about civilian disarmament, the process will at some point involve the deployment of military personnel at checkpoints and roadblocks.

Furthermore, as anybody who has recently endured the indignity of a traffic stop can attest, police in most jurisdictions routinely inquire as to whether there are weapons in the car. (In my most recent traffic stop, the officer asked, "Are there any weapons in your car I need to know about?" "No, none that you need to know about," was my immediate response.)

With the police increasingly taking on the aspect of a fully-realized military occupation force, it may seem redundant for the regular military to assume a more active role in "homeland security." The fact that such efforts are not only underway, but accelerating, is highly suggestive of very bad intentions on the part of those who presume to rule us.

As the depression deepens into the economic equivalent of a quantum singularity, and fear is finally transmuted into public outrage over the redistribution of wealth to protect the Swindler Class, a spark will be struck somewhere, and a population center of some size is going to go up in flames. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Regime's huge population of informants and provocateurs include some of the people eagerly spraying accelerant of some kind wherever promising examples of social friction can be found .

When the fire erupts – whether through spontaneous combustion or through the ministrations of the Regime's paid incendiaries – the script will call for the government to deploy occupation troops, on the assumption that the best way to battle a social conflagration would be to suffocate liberty, rather than extinguishing the source of the fire.

The possibility of full-scale domestic military mobilization to suppress insurrection is one of several scenarios limned in the recent, widely publicized US Army War College paper "Known Unknowns: Unconventional `Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development."

The report examines several ongoing and potential sources of "strategic dislocation" for the empire (an entirely appropriate term not used in the report, even though it should have been) both abroad and at home. The Iraqi insurgency was cited as a key example of an unforeseen "shock" that set back the course of the empire; this despite the fact that any reasonably intelligent person with a particle of human understanding could have predicted that Iraqis would organize to resist foreign occupation.

There are at least two kinds of "strategic shocks" described in the report. One is the "Natural Endpoint" of a given trend-line; another is referred to as a "Dangerous Waypoint" or a "Discontinuous Break" that interrupts an otherwise positive trend-line.

Curiously – or perhaps not, given that this was a paper produced by an arm of the Regime – no thought is given to the possibility that ongoing difficulties both at home and abroad are auguries of the "Natural Endpoint" of the imperial trend-line that began – well, let's say with the closing of the Western Frontier (and the related massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee) in 1890.

Acknowledging and welcoming the end of the American Empire would be a singularly healthy development; it would bring about a legitimate revolution in military affairs, and could foreclose the possibility of martial law in the immediate future. But once again, such possibilities simply don't exist, as far as the author of this War College study is concerned.

Accordingly, beginning on page 31 of that document we find a brief and remarkably candid (and, curiously, completely un-sourced) discussion of possible "Violent, Strategic Dislocation inside the United States."

In the event that "organized violence against local, state and national authorities" were to materialize – that is, if the long-suffering productive people finally have a surfeit of armed parasites and start fighting back – it might "exceed the capacity of the former two [that is, local and state governments] to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations." (The "vulnerable" in this case being the soft-handed tax feeders who cower behind the armed people wearing State-issued costumes.)

In such circumstances, the military "might be forced ... to put its broad resources at the disposal of civil authorities to contain and reverse violent threats to domestic tranquility," the report continues. "Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security." (Emphasis added.)

Now, I have no way of knowing if the author of this report is aware of the fact that the phrase "human security," as used by the exalted beings employed by the United Nations, refers to a condition in which disarmed populations depend entirely on government for their protection.

It was the objective of "human security" that was being pursued in Rwanda in 1993 through a peace treaty that required the disarmament of everybody but the Government's armed enforcement personnel. This made it quite simple for the Rwandan "Hutu Power" Junta to slaughter roughly 1.1 million Tutsis (and moderate Hutus) during the 103-day orgy of genocide that began in April 1994.

Civilian disarmament is integral to any military occupation, whether it's carried out in the service of "peacekeeping," colonialism, or genocide (and those categories do tend to blend at the margins). Since 1994, the US military has been involved in a series of occupation missions – in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere. Nearly all of them involve some large-scale disarmament initiative. Recently in Iraq, US military personnel have been confiscating toy guns from Iraqi children.

Many of those military personnel are Guardsmen and Reservists who will return to jobs in "civilian" law enforcement well-versed in the logic of civilian disarmament as a necessity for "force protection." Others are military personnel who will be fast-tracked into law enforcement careers once they come home and look for work in an exceptionally bad labor market. Still others will serve "dwell-time" missions stateside as part of Northern Command's homeland security force.

It would be immensely useful – and probably quite horrifying – to have those personnel take Guy Cunningham's "Combat Arms Survey," and examine their responses to the notorious Question 46. How many of them would be willing to shoot Americans in order to confiscate their guns if ordered to do so?

Obviously, I can't provide an answer to that question that is anything other than speculation. I do recall an incident in late 2001, during a speaking tour in support of a book dealing with the subject of civilian disarmament.

The tour took me to Memphis, Tennessee, where I addressed a large audience who had gathered in a very well-appointed hotel. Just down the hall from our meeting, a ballroom had been rented for a formal event involving recruiters for the various branches of the military.

The hallways were full of young officers and non-coms in formal military attire. At one point I spied two of them – one of them a Marine – examining a poster advertising the subject of my speech, "Civilian Disarmament." The Marine turned to his buddy and, with what appeared to be an approving smirk, commented: "Sounds like a good idea."

December 22, 2008

William Norman Grigg [send him mail] writes the Pro Libertate blog.

Copyright © 2008 William Norman Grigg

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