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Nullo's avatar

What do you make of this business with the Defense Authorization Act?

Asked by Nullo (21973points) November 30th, 2011

The part of the document that the journalists are getting agitated over would permit the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial on suspicions of terrorism. Doubtless there are other, less controversial parts.

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24 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I didn’t like similar proposals in the Patriot Act that didn’t go as far as the Defense Authorization Act. Nothing has changed my views.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree with @WestRiverrat – more erosion of civil liberties.

dabbler's avatar

No excuse for it at all. None.
Part of what made the US great, in the past, is our proud and public and consistent respect for human rights, including the right to an expeditious trial and jury of one’s peers.
That’s the kind of thing that makes us a land of free people.
Not totalitarian BS excused by “Defense” purposes. Security my ass.

SavoirFaire's avatar

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

—Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

—Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

That’s what I make of it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

And the Udall amendment was rejected

jerv's avatar

Two-thirds of Americans lost the Fourth Amendment.
Congress wants to allow ISPs to kill the First Amendment, and police will pepper-spray you for exercising your right to peaceably assemble.

I think the only solution is revolution; hopefully a peaceful one, but we cannot remove the other option from the table either.

“For the people, of the people, and by the people” my ass!

ETpro's avatar

The detention without trial or due process rider to the Defense Authorization Act is TERRIBLE policy. It would be an American version of Germany’s Enabling Act of 1933. All we would need to wait for after passing it would be for a willing dictator to come along and use it to “disappear” any US citizen that opposed him. Fortunately, President Obama apparently isn’t interested in being dictator, or leaving the keys to the kingdom lying around till a would-be dictator arrives in office and picks them up. He has rightly vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro He has folded like a lawnchair before though :/


SavoirFaire's avatar

@jerv I don’t know. My father-in-law has a rusty old lawn chair that puts up more of a fight than I’ve ever seen from Obama.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv & @SavoirFaire I can’t argue that. I have my bones to pick with the President. But he was right about the upcoming election when he warned us “Don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative.”

TexasDude's avatar

Wouldn’t that be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act?

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard since when has that impeded a politician. Presidents have been suspending habeas corpus and Posse Comitatus since the War Between the States.

woodcutter's avatar

Just one more nail in our coffins. The govt wants complete impunity to cover their asses when the SHTF. It will give the govt power to arrest citizens who happen to stockpile a shitload of ammunition and label them as terrorists. The govt is showing it’s fear. This is a good sign.

TexasDude's avatar

@WestRiverrat I know, but that would still be an angle to attack this from legally, wouldn’t it?

Also, it appears as though the current wording of this excludes US citizens.

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.


No, I don’t support this, but I do think everyone should read what it actually says from the source before making broad statements about it.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard listen to the clips here, then make your assessment. Especially the middle one.

ETpro's avatar

@WestRiverrat It’s actually unconstitutional, legally. But who cares about the rule of law anymore when we are talking new laws? Seems most of the Senate does not.

ragingloli's avatar

It says the requirement does not extend to citizens. This means they do not have to, but they still can if they please.

lillycoyote's avatar

Please contact your Senators about this. If you don’t want to contact them on your own, the ACLU has a form on their site that will automatically send a message to your own state senators. I always add an additional comment when I use these things so it doesn’t seem like I was just going through the motions. A personal message is better but the ACLU form is better than nothing at all.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@ETpro I agree with you, still doesn’t mean we should roll over and let the senate do us without lube.

It is easier to prevent an act becoming law than it is to repeal a law once enacted. Income tax was supposed to end when the debt accrued during WWI was paid off.

ETpro's avatar

@WestRiverrat Amen to that. I;ll light up their switchboard tomorrow morning.

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote I have, and I know one incumbent that won’t be getting my vote.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv Good for you. As you know, it’s not enough just to vote, and certainly not enough just to point fingers and complain and blame. You have to let your representatives know how you feel on particular issues. And it’s not enough to support our troops and wave the flag. We all, military or not, have an obligation to fight for and defend our freedoms, our liberty.

flutherother's avatar

I am a bit taken aback by this measure. It is what we expect from tinpot dictatorships not the world’s greatest democracy. What is going on America? Your own constitution was written to prevent this very thing happening, but that is only a piece of paper. If your leaders want to wipe their arses on it they can but I would be damned if I would let them.

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote Congress-critters and Presidents take the same oath I did when I entered the Navy; to support the Constitution, and to defend it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. That means that many of them are oath-breakers on top of everything else.. as are any military people (current or former) who fail to oppose our government.

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