Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Serious Reservations" About President Obama

It hardly matters that President Obama may have "serious reservations" about the indefinite detention provisions that he just signed into law as part of the defense spending bill.  And it provides little comfort that his signing statement purports to clarify that his "Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” or that he believes "that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation."

The problem, as David Dayen points out "was always about the codifying of indefinite military detention into the law, available for any future President to pick up and use."  Or as the ACLU puts it: "the statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield."
Dayen further explains:
The vagaries of the language in the statute, which allows for detentions of people “associated” with Al Qaeda, and the burden on Presidential waivers to avoid military detentions rather than an opt-in kind of process, make the language extremely unadvisable from the standpoint of the civil liberties community. However, it’s important to recognize that the Obama Administration really was already in practice allowing for the indefinite military detention of terrorist suspects. They didn’t want language that hindered their counter-terrorism processes, particularly those of the FBI. That’s what they got out of the changes, so the codification really didn’t matter to them at that point. There are painfully few political actors in Washington opposed to this complete breach of the Constitutional right to due process.
So, President Obama, how about some Wilco to close out 2011?  Unfortunately, unlike the lyric, I do have reservations about you.  Serious reservations.


Stephen said...

How serious? Serious enough to sit out the next election or cast a throw away third party vote?

Lovechilde said...

Not that serious.

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