In the days of the old Soviet Union, people considered enemies of the state could disappear at any time. Rarely would families learn the fate of their loved ones, who were shuttled off to gulags and tortured or simply shot in the head and deposited in a hole in the ground.
Americans rightly decried such actions and held America to a higher standard: a bastion of freedom. Who living then could have envisioned that such a thing would come to America?
But here we are. The passage of the National Defense Authorization Act has turned the U.S. into the USSR.
The bill authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. We have become the USSR and Nazi Germany wrapped into one. The Constitution is shredded, the Bill of Rights nullified. There is bitter irony that it happens on the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.
Some have been fooled into believing the bill does not apply to Americans. But as Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) has pointed out, the wording is cleverly disguised doublespeak. Section 1032 says: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” Read it again this way: “The requirement… does not extend to citizens of the United States,” meaning the detention is discretionary rather than required.
Who is foolish enough to think that a President who will assassinate an American without trial would not exercise this discretion? The President who campaigned on closing Guantanamo Bay will now have the authority to fill it up with Americans.
Co-sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made clear what lawmakers have in mind when he said: “If you’re an American citizen and you betray your country, you’re not going to be given a lawyer.”
Supporters of the law say the President already had this authority and all the bill does is codify it into law.
Never mind the Constitution, Article III, Section 3 of which says: “No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
Our lawmakers tell us that no longer applies. The law is what they say it is, Constitution be damned.
Editor’s note: It’s time to make your submissions for this month’s You Sound Off! feature, which will run Dec. 28. Get your submission in by Dec. 23. It should be no more than 750 words (if they are longer, we probably won’t read them). We will select the one or two we think are the best of the week to publish. We reserve the right to edit for grammar and style but will try not to alter the meaning.
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address and telephone number (only your name will be published) so we can contact you if we need to clarify something. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.–BL