The NDAA, Indefinite Detention, and the American Gulag

Representative Buck McKeon and Senator John McCain ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves. Deeply, deeply ashamed. They enshrined in United States law the concept of the Gulag. And they are not the only ones. 322 Members of the House, and another 93 Members of the Senate, voted this monstrosity into existence. And even President Obama, who signed the bill into law. All of these people should be ashamed.

I think he should have vetoed the bill. I think that the Congress should have stripped out the parts dealing with detention.

I understand the need to keep enemy combatants from going back to battle. We captured Germans, Italians, Japanese, and others in WWII. But the difference is that we returned those prisoners at the end of the war.

It is not arguable that we were in a war in Iraq (the legality and ethics challenge of that war are another other discussion altogether). We invaded the country, and then occupied it. But we are gone now. The prisoners we took out of Iraq should either be charged with a crime, tried, and convicted or not, in a civilian court. Or they should be released back to Iraq.

The same should happen in Afghanistan when we are done there.

I’ve seen the argument that we are in a “global war on terror”. I don’t buy that; just because we call it a war does not make it one. War is between nations, not nations and terrorists. Terrorists are criminals not bound by the conventions of war. If they are killed during operations, that’s OK. But if they are captured, then they need to be charged and tried.

And once charged, since they are charged with crimes under USC, not the UCMJ, they need to be tried in civilian courts.

And in no way should they be held without charges and trial indefinately.

It amazes me that terrorists put so much terror into some people. Some, like McCain apparently, think that some people are “too dangerous to try”. What a load of crap. It’s political posturing.

One of the reasons this country was founded was that the King of England was trampling on individual liberties here. It’s no difference between King George and the Congress and the President; both are trampling on individual liberties.

The detention provisions should never have been introduced in Congress. The Congress (both the House and the Senate) should never have allowed the provisions to be included in the NDAA. The NDAA should have been rejected, and should have been vetoed. The detention provisions should have been stripped out post-veto.

The detention provisions are contrary to American liberty and tradition, and should not be in law.

President Obama had a signing statement that vowed he will not follow that part of the NDAA. That’s fine, but he should have vetoed the bill and had the detention provisions removed.

What happens after Obama’s term ends? The next President is not bound by Obama’s signing statement. The mere fact that the law allows indefinite detention means that some President, someday, will use it.

There is an analysis of the provisions of the bill (Part 1 and Part 2) here.

Fight back against this, people. It’s the future of the country that is at stake.

“They came for xxxxx, and I did nothing”…


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