Beware the military on US soil: City and state leaders should be careful what they wish for
(NY Daily News | April 6, 2020) By and large, New York officials have exhibited admirable leadership and clear-headed decision making in response to the worst public health crisis in a century. With staggering numbers of COVID-19 infections and badly overstretched hospitals, New York City and surrounding communities are in dire need of help — and Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have been properly beseeching the White House to commit federal resources to help stem the tide of the virus.
But as it involves the use of the military, this response should have clear limits. Legally and historically, we limit its engagement on U.S. soil for very good reason.
Although Cuomo called up New York National Guard forces early in the crisis to help with the expected medical surge, and although the USNS Comfort has arrived to provide hospitals with desperately needed surge capacity, de Blasio and other New Yorkers are still urging a more robust federal military response.
There is no doubt that the U.S. military has always played a key role in society. Soldiers have always stood ready to use their special training, equipment and discipline to help out in emergencies when no one else could.
Most of the time, however, America’s military forces have remained in the background, waiting for direction from civilian leaders to respond to crises and then only in limited ways …