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 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.