In a no-fanfare message sent to Congress Wednesday, George W. Bush decreed that the "national emergency" he declared three days after the attacks of 9/11 "is to continue in effect for an additional year." The president said that it's necessary to continue the state of "national emergency" because "the terrorist threat continues."
What does this mean? The Congressional Research Service has explained it all before. For at least one more year now, the president will retain for himself the power to suspend the operation of any law regarding the promotion, involuntary retirement, separation or numbers of commissioned officers in the military; to increase the number of active-duty military personnel beyond that authorized by Congress; to call all members of the Ready Reserve as well as retired Coast Guard personnel back into active duty; and to "detain enlisted members of the Coast Guard beyond their terms of enlistment."