Friday, December 2, 2011

The Senate vs. Civil Liberties

By a vote of 93-7, the Senate has voted in favor of a bill that formally grants the government the power to detain anybody, including US citizens, for as long as they like without trial. Yes, you read that correctly. Anybody, literally any one of us, can now be detained for as long as the military likes with no trial, no right to remain silent, no Miranda rights, no right to a lawyer, no unbiased jury of your peers. How is this possible? How do they square this with the multiple Bill of Rights entries this violates? Well, according to the bill, all the government needs to do to make our inherent birthrights null and void is say "we suspect him/her of terrorism." Just say it. Not even publicly, just even to themselves. So long as they cite that justification, they can ignore the constitution.


This practice is nothing new, of course. It happened for years under Bush and has continued under Obama. But it has always been done through executive order: it hasn't been an officially, legally sanctioned power through legislation until now. We must not let it be. To his credit, Obama has threatened to veto the bill, and I certainly hope he does. But don't think it's because Obama is tossing and turning at night worrying about the constitutional implications about the constitution; he just want the power for himself! The bill, you see, gives the power of unlimited detention without trial to the military, whereas right now it's exercised by the intelligence agencies at President Obama's express request, via executive orders. Now, these decisions are to be made by the military, and the information about individual detainees given to the military officers instead of the President. Even though he gives the orders to the military, he wouldn't play as integral a role in determining who specifcally get's detained, if I interpret the bill correctly. That's why he's complaining in his press release not about civil liberties, but about how the President needs the "flexibility" to determine how to best protect the nation.

I frankly don't care at all which part of the government can oppress us at will. The point is, the government can oppress us at will, and it doesn't even have to hide it anymore. This is very, very bad.

1 comment:


    Is this that same bill? If so, the YAY raynd paul!