Sunday, January 8, 2012

NDAA And How The Obama Administration Betrayed America

While on vacation in Hawaii on New Years Eve, Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Effectively authorizing a colossal $662 billion in military spending and superseding American citizens right to a trial and jury. 


This bill is usually used to designate a budget for the U.S. Department of Defense and has been passed for a consecutive 49 years running. However, this year it has been altered to reinforce the governments authority to indefinitely detain any U.S. citizen suspected of terrorism without a trial.


Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, said "President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law." 


While there is no single definition for terrorism in the U.S., the State Department defines it as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." Some may think this does not effect them personally because they could never be suspected of terrorism, but they're wrong. 


You can be suspected of terrorist involvement for anything from having a weeks worth of food storage, paying cash at a hotel, owning a gun, having missing fingers or even for buying a flashlight. 


The Patriot Act already gives the government the right to spy on American citizens; now NDAA gives them the right to detain us permanently and without trial, for any reason they assume to be terrorist activity. Both of these are in direct contradiction with our Constitutional rights as American citizens.


Barack Obama lied when he promised to close Guantanamo Bay, bring home our troops within 16 months, bring an end to the Bush tax cuts and when he promised to veto NDAA.  




After Signing the bill he swore to oppose, Obama had this to say:  "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation." 


I guess we'll just have to take his word for it.


5 comments:

  1. I think the key words here are 'my administration'... It's the next one we are most worried about, Mr Obama.

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  2. See, I thought I was safe from the American brand of political crazy being in Australia. Turns out I'm not any more and the US just deployed 2500 troops here for some reason...I'm hoping they just love dopey bear things and kangaroos...a lot

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  3. Welcome to the New World Order.

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  4. Violation of civil liberties (to the extent your implying) can't happen because of a law alone, it requires broad public support and in the worst case scenario everybody is implying, that the government is going to arrest you and put you in a military prison without trial for being suspected of being a terrorist is simply dumb.

    Let's look at Japanese Internment. Was it the passing of a law like NDAA 10 years beforehand that gave the legal justification to essentially imprison Japanese-Americans for being Japanese? No.

    What happened was the public outrage was so great (Americans were out of their minds with anger) that President Roosevelt was able to sign a executive order (not even a bill passed by Congress) that allowed the worst case scenario of civil rights violations to take place.

    Now two points about that.

    1. The Government can only become that powerful and oppressive, only with the cooperation of a segment of the population.

    2. The people most paranoid/worried about this always bring up this worst case scenario where this could happen in the near future. IT DID HAPPEN!!! The Japanese were rounded up and sent to internment camps!

    What happened afterwards? Did this become a precedent that allowed the government to jail any US citizens without due process? NO. The Japanese-Americans suffered immeasurably but it didn't result in a fundamental change in US civil liberties, because what happened is the pendulum swung back. Throughout US history we have countless times when the pendulum swung towards the weakening of civil liberties (like when Lincoln declared Habeus Corpeus or the Red Scare during the Cold War ) but we've always managed to be near the brink but come back.

    The NDAA isn't even close to those two events and that's why I can't stand the hyperbole. Do I wish this provision in the NDAA had passed? No. But at the same time do I think this is going to be the thing that results in the destruction of the Bill of Rights and the freedom we live in as we know it? No.

    What US history tells us is not that we should fear government but that we should fear public hysteria which results in the scared public giving power to the government to oppress a certain group. And Japanese Internment teaches us that if there's enough public support the government can do anything. Look at how fast Roosevelt employed that executive order. It was done in a matter of what? Months?

    The elimination of Civil Liberties aren't like ice cubes where it slowly melts away, it's like a heart attack, sudden quick and unexpected. So we shouldn't worry about stuff like the NDAA as much as we should be worried about the next crisis (say islamic terrorists blow up a dirty bomb in a US city). Are we going to intern all US Muslims like we did the Japanese in WWII? And more importantly are people (not the government) going to care as much about civil liberties as we do right now? Or are they going to want revenge?

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  5. The U.S. government has had the authority to strip us of our civil rights for decades and they have exercised that right. You are 100% right, the new National Defense Authorization Act and the Enemy Expatriation Act are legitimizing the power they already have. I'm not implying they will be breaking down doors and rounding people into FEMA camps over night; but it's a slippery slope that will give all future leaders the right to do so unchecked. If we let this slide now what will we let slide tomorrow?

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