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President Bush knew his responsibility and the limits of his office in dealing with Hurricane Andrew.

Article IV, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution limits the use of the military in domestic affairs to those times that an application has been received from the elected representatives of the state. There are constitutional exceptions for specific federal responsibilities such as racism, enslavement, massive violation of due process or violation of the right to vote.The president can flood the areas of Florida and Louisiana, devastated by Hurricane Andrew, with paper pushers from Washington, but people cannot eat paper. The only federal department equipped to move food, erect temporary housing, provide mobile electric generators, water purification or sanitation is the military. The only federal department with the heavy equipment to clear debris and the power to prevent looting is the Defense Department.

The application from a state can be a recorded phone call to the president by the governor, but the state must ask for the help of the U.S. military. It is a constitutional limitation on the power of the president and our military forces.

Bush knew his responsibility and the limits of his office. It is too bad that the governor of Florida did not know his constitutional responsibilities or did not make his application quickly. I feel sorry for the people devastated by Hurricane Andrew who went without food, water and sanitation for so long. But I never want to see the United States under the rule of a military junta or dictatorship. The separations of power established in the Constitution are for our protection.

Terry Wirth

West Valley City