“I have signed this bill,” President Barack Obama said months ago about the National Defense Authorization Act, “despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”
Those provisions include the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial.
Former President George W. Bush had tried that with Jose Padilla; now, courtesy of President Obama’s signature, the policy is codified into law.
“Let me be clear,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a university audience yesterday, “an operation using lethal force in a foreign country, targeted against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces, and who is actively engaged in planning to kill Americans, would be lawful . . .”
Holder goes on to say that “a thorough and careful review” by the government would be required, and that capture must not be “feasible,” and that the hit be “conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.”
But something is missing. There’s absolutely no check on this awesome power. No due process. No day in court to contest the government’s “thorough and careful review” and avoid an unjustified death by bullet or drone strike.
Moreover, these extraordinary powers, which obliterate all basic legal protections going back to 1215 AD, are for the execution of an undeclared war against a concept, “terrorism,” vague enough to provide a state of permanent war.
Asked about Holder’s position, presidential candidate Ron Paul warned, “If the American people accept that, it’d be a serious mistake.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.