The initial cloud of smoke has cleared on 2012’s National Defense Authorization Act and we are still no better informed about the extent of its newly formed ambiguous power than we were when it was passed two weeks ago.
The NDAA of 2012 broke with its traditionally monotonous roots when its scope spread far beyond the traditional yearly Department of Defense budgeting. In a seemingly dodgy move the government slipped in the now highly controversial Section 1021 and 1022—constitution-raping pieces of legislation akin the Patriot Act on steroids. The two sly sections allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens suspected of terror activities, without a trial. Think: Guantanamo Bay tactics for Americans, on US soil.
The press and citizenry are naturally up in arms about these vague pieces of legislation that could allow the US government to treat its own citizens the way it has treated international terror suspects for almost a decade. The government has responded with the expected political-rhetoric, saying that fears are premature given that despite being passed the current administration has no intention of detaining US citizens. Cleverly timed perhaps, given the up-coming elections.
Equally expected of the presidential puppetry, Obama released contradictory statements regarding the 2012 NDAA, saying both that, “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” AND “the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” You can read the original statement.
Seemingly, the cleverly-disguised sections of the NDAA were never meant to come to light — but now that it has the government appears to be backpedaling with as much damage control as possible. It doesn’t take much to see through the rhetoric though; why else would a government pass a piece of legislation if it never intends to use it.
Obama’s cleverly-scribed words are likely rare pieces of truth from an administration—HIS administration will not use the NDAA to detain American citizens. Not a very ballsy claim given his short time left. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea though, to give Americans a taste of their own (torture-ridden, trial-less indefinite detention) medicine.