“All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined… could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln, 1838
“A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Each year for the last 48 of them the United States government has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that provides funding for the Department of Defense. As with any other bill in Washington, D.C., it can be innocuous–just a means of channeling tax receipts and borrowed money. This year, however, there are additions to it that will forever change what it means to live in America, because it changes the essence of what America is. Martial law takes place of the rule of law. The President takes place of the constitution.
Originally passing the House of Representatives in May, the bill, last known as S. 1867, passed the Senate earlier this month and now waits on President Obama’s desk where it awaits his signature. The parts needing the greatest scrutiny are in sections 1013 and 1032, drafted by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) and supported on the Senate floor by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who said,
the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland. (Emphasis mine.)
Designating “the homeland” as a battlefield gives the power to President Obama and any future president to call out members of any branch of the service against any American citizen to arrest and detail without trial anywhere in the world including your own back yard. Or front yard if you prefer.
President Obama’s threat of a veto, apparently, was only to get modifications to the bill which grant the Executive Branch of the government even greater power. Under the last two presidents the constitutional undermining and power grabbing of authority has been so fierce and so overt it would make a bunch of middle school, in-crowd, “mean girls” blush.
Normal American citizens who once enjoyed freedom of speech are not only potential enemy combatants, but have already been placed on the battlefield. And our own government has defined all the terms and written all the rules. Liberty has already lost.
Constitutional expert and civil-rights attorney, John Whitehead, has recently written,
America has indeed become the new battleground in the war on terror. In light of this, you can rest assured that there will be no restoration of the civil liberties jeopardized by the USA Patriot Act and other equally subversive legislation. Instead, those in power will continue to sanction ongoing violations of our rights, relying on bureaucratic legalese to sidestep any concerns that might be raised. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which was passed by the Senate with a vote of 93 – 7, is a perfect example of this. Contained within this massive defense bill is a provision crafted by Democrat Charles Levin and Republican John McCain which mandates that anyone suspected of terrorism against the United States be held in military custody indefinitely. This provision extends to American citizens on American territory. The bill also renews the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) which was passed in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks. In addition to renewing the AUMF, it extends its provisions to include military action against those who “substantially support” Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.” And to cap it off, the bill enhances restrictions against transferring detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay to the continental United States.
Taken collectively, these provisions re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the rule of law—our U.S. Constitution, becomes the map by which we navigate life in the United States. In short, this defense bill not only decimates the due process of law and habeas corpus for anyone perceived to be an enemy of the United States, but it radically expands the definition of who may be considered the legitimate target of military action. If signed into law by President Obama, this bill will not only ensure that we remain in a perpetual state of war—with this being a war against the American people—but it will also institute de facto martial law in the United States. Although the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act placed strong restrictions on how and when the U.S. military may be used on American soil, the language of this bill supersedes Posse Comitatus, empowering the president to unilaterally impose martial law at any time of his choosing. This legislation signals the end of the rule of law in America.
(It’s worth your time to read the entire piece.)
In my younger years I would have urged people to write, call, or email their congressman or woman. But note this passed the Senate with only 7 (SEVEN) against votes. It has been clear from some time that the people in Washington don’t listen to the people who send them there, so don’t waste your time.
When “Barack Obama” is signed on the NDAA of 2012 it will be just as sad a day as when “George W. Bush” was signed across the Patriot Act. But people all over the land will still be arguing about whether Tim Tebow is getting mistreated by John Elway, whether Kim Kardashian was ever serious about her marriage, or who is the most selfish NBA players or owners.
We deserve exactly what we’re getting. Welcome to the Banana Republic of America.