While you were at the club (or avoiding the crowds with some liberals at a house party), Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Obama said he had “serious reservations” about the law, but signed it nonetheless. Their are pieces of the NDAA that are dangerous because they hand over power to the White House to hold what they consider possible terror suspects at their own discretion and without a fair trial–if that is what they see fit.
The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.
Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again. The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.
A fundamental progressive value HAS to be fair trail for anyone detained by the government–or we are worse than the governments we criticize and invade for failing to rightfully protect the due process rights of their citizens. This is a sad (but predictable) day for what is left of a democratic system that is increasingly becoming a police-military state.
Check out the short list of Congress people that have never supported the Patriot Act or the NDAA.
Update: The NDAA also holds a provision that allows women to transfer locations if they have been sexually assaulted or feel threatened where they are holding position. This is a huge success in the fight to stop sexual assault in the military.