In a move that is a jarring way to begin the new year, President Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. Indefinite detention is now officially on the books as an employable tactic to deal with suspected terrorist activity and support. As warned in a past blog post on the NDAA bill, it outlines broad new powers that will have far reaching consequences for American citizens. Even though President Obama is stressing that this law will not be used to detain American citizens, it clears the way for any future presidents to apply it in any way they see fit. At the risk of being hyperbolic, this new law endangers large numbers of people, whether it be 6 months or decades down the line. Its doubtful that this law will not be misused in the future, as the door is wide open to do so.
Most duplicitous of all, is the statement of “reservations” held while signing the bill into law. Way to pass the buck. Civil liberties are endangered, yet the sitting presidents concerns weren’t enough to make him veto the bill. Of course, many will say that the president had no choice, and was forced to sign it lest he look “weak on terrorism” However, how far are we willing to go as a country to fight terror? Is it at the expense of setting up thousands of people to be swept up in the future as foreign sympathizers? Or what if the president after Obama decides that protestors are terrorists? This law is arguably worse than the Patriot Act. But, it doesn’t matter, because conversation on the long term implications will be hushed by this year’s election concerns. Apparently, progressives have no where to go, but straight to the booth. What a happy new year it shall be.
-Marc W. Polite