05 January 2012

Obama disses due process

Another disappointment from U.S. President Barack Obama. On New Year's Eve, perhaps a time when he thought his nation was sufficiently distracted, he signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 which includes a clause granting the executive branch the power to indefinitely detain any person, including American citizens, it accuses of being a terrorist without charge or trial.

He attempted to modify his action with the curious statement, "I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions  ... 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."

He is certainly right about the latter, which prompts the obvious question, if it would break with the most important values of his nation, why in hell did he sign it? What is his promise never to act on the power worth? Maybe he won't, but are we to believe that the next George W. Bush or Richard Nixon won't?

Amnesty International ridiculed Obama's assurances, stating "Once any government has the authority to hold people indefinitely, the risk is that it can be almost impossible to rein such power in. President Obama ...  has allowed human rights to be further undermined and given al Qaeda a propaganda victory."

A victory for al Qaeda it surely is. I have no idea what goes on in the minds of people like those who blew up the twin towers, but I suspect their motives might have been one, to create a war between the U.S. and Islam, and two, to fracture American values. They achieved both and Obama has assured that the fracturing of American values will continue.

Hopefully, this story is far from over. To my untutored legal eye, this power violates the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution which states, in part, "nor shall [any person] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Many Americans, although obviously only a minority in Congress, still believe in their constitution and we may look forward, therefore, to a challenge of this legislation in the courts.


  1. Very true. Bin Laden discussed the need to create fearvin the USA. Since we now have Liberals excited about suspending the Bill of Rights for "bogeymen", he may have won at least a partial victory.

  2. I do think that Obama signing this draconian bill into law is a big mistake for Obama. The Republicans will use Obama's signature as proof that Obama hates freedoms and rights for Americans.

  3. Of course Obama doesn't need to use the powers of this bill... He has already claimed the right to execute those he deems 'terrorists' - including American citizens - without trial, by drone attacks.

    Skinny Dipper - the republicans won't attack Obama over this, they are pushing him to sign it. The republicans (at least, those currently in control of the party)only believe in freedoms and rights for Americans who believe what they believe. For those that disagree, they believe in arbitrary punishment without due process. The only time this will be brought up in the election will be by fringe candidates and independents who, tragically, won't be listened to by the majority of voters.