The dark side of the new military authorization bill

December 1, 2011 | By | 10 Replies More

Glenn Greenwald spells out the concerns we should all have with the new military authorization bill (2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)), well on its way to passage:

Here are the bill’s three most important provisions:

(1) mandates that all accused Terrorists be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian court system; it also unquestionably permits (but does not mandate) that even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil accused of Terrorism be held by the military rather than charged in the civilian court system (Sec. 1032);

(2) renews the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) with more expansive language: to allow force (and military detention) against not only those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and countries which harbored them, but also anyone who “substantially supports” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” (Sec. 1031); and,

(3) imposes new restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo (Secs. 1033-35).

There are several very revealing aspects to all of this. First, the 9/11 attack happened more than a decade ago; Osama bin Laden is dead; the U.S. Government claims it has killed virtually all of Al Qaeda’s leadership and the group is “operationally ineffective” in the Afghan-Pakistan region; and many commentators insisted that these developments would mean that the War on Terror would finally begin to recede. And yet here we have the Congress, on a fully bipartisan basis, acting not only to re-affirm the war but to expand it even further: by formally declaring that the entire world (including the U.S.) is a battlefield and the war will essentially go on forever.


Category: Civil Rights, Law Enforcement Abuses, Military, Orwellian

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (10)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    “In one of the greatest attacks on civil liberties in this country’s history, Democratic and Republican Senators voted yesterday to approve a measure as part of the $662 billion defense bill that would allow for the military to hold both citizens and non-citizens indefinitely without trial — even those arrested on U.S. soil. ”

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    “Sen. Carl Levin claimed as part of the debate over the detention bill he sponsored with John McCain that it was the Obama White House that demanded the removal of language that would have exempted U.S. citizens from military detention without charges.”

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    “Outside of the independent media, opposition to NDAA has remained almost nonexistent, with the mainstream neglecting to discuss the colossal implications the bill would have if it is signed into law. Speaking to radio host Alex Jones on Tuesday, however, Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul finally became one of the first main figures to attack the act.
    “This is a giant step – this should be the biggest news going right now – literally legalizing martial law,” said Paul. The congressman from Texas also appeared flabbergasted that the bill managed to escape discussion in any of the recent GOP debates, despite its provisions being detrimental to the US Constitution and the freedom of every man, woman and child in America.”

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    “The White House on Wednesday abandoned its threat to veto a defense bill that sets in stone the commander in chief’s authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including Americans, in military custody.”

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    As Glen Greenwald explains on The Young Turks (at the 7 minute mark), George W. Bush and Barack Obama have both insisted that they ALREADY have the pernicious power to indefinitely detain American citizens without criminal charges or trials. Barack Obama’s veto threat was never over the issue of civil liberties.

    If you’d like some proof that the new Act reiterates the status quo, check out these links:

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Glenn Greenwald on Barack Obama’s most recent betrayal of his campaign promises:

    “In one of the least surprising developments imaginable, President Obama – after spending months threatening to veto the Levin/McCain detention bill – yesterday announced that he would instead sign it into law (this is the same individual, of course, who unequivocally vowed when seeking the Democratic nomination to support a filibuster of “any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecom[s],” only to turn around – once he had the nomination secure — and not only vote against such a filibuster, but to vote in favor of the underlying bill itself, so this is perfectly consistent with his past conduct).”

  7. Tim Hogan says:

    “As America approaches the decision of who will lead our country in November 2012 in the US House, US Senate and as our elected (hopefully) President, it is to be hoped that we all will look to the objectively verifiable facts of what truly is to be feared by Americans. The choice is between those who would use war, fear, death and the destruction of persons and our fundamental values to take care of a chosen few or those which strive to hold steadfastly to truth, to uphold the Constitution, and to be and to do that which is just and right by all.”

    I wrote this about the endless wars of the Republicans and their penchant to use “terror” as their excuse for whatever latest injustice they wished upon our civil liberties and citizens. After the NDAA quisling-out by Obama, I now include Barack Obama among their ilk and wish there were a real Democratic candidate for President to vote for in 2012.

  8. The Happy Nihilist says:

    Alas, Paul Kennedy’s thesis of Imperial Overstretch remains alive… the U.S. continues to sacrifice itself on the altar of nation-state ideology. Perhaps China will be unexpectedly diverted by a superior headspace, and the Tao will save the future day… in any case, can’t see much hope for balance in America.

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