THE U.S. military can indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without trial—that’s the latest of our supposedly “inalienable rights” sacrificed by the Democratic former constitutional law professor who currently inhabits in the White House.
After promising during his campaign to roll back the abuses of the Bush administration, Barack Obama has spent the last three years pushing through attacks on civil liberties that Republicans could only dream about. He is eliminating all doubts that the Democrats are as firmly committed as the GOP to strengthening the national security state at the expense of our rights.
As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed into law by Obama on December 31, the military—under the authority of the president—is empowered to hold anyone “who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners…without trial until the end of hostilities.”
According to legal scholar Jonathan Turley, the NDAA represents “one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country.”
… The ACLU’s Laura Murphy pointed out that the last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was the Internal Security Act of 1950, passed during the McCarthy era. Then-President Harry Truman vetoed the Internal Security Act of 1950, but Congress overrode the veto.
… Obama did attach a “signing statement” to the NDAA, proclaiming that he doesn’t want to use the massive power which he was granting to not only his own, but to successor, administrations. “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” he wrote.
But then why enshrine such heinous power into law? The answer is that Obama is only too happy to have such a weapon at his disposal.
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THE QUESTION some might be asking is how Obama—the former law professor who promised to uphold the rule of law and protect civil liberties—could have so fully embraced the policies he has?
The answer isn’t a personal failing on Obama’s part, but that he and the Democratic Party are as committed as the Republicans to expanding and upholding U.S. power around the globe as the Republicans. Part of ensuring that is strengthening of the national security state to silence and repress any perceived threats to that power—whether at home or abroad.