He did it again, but worse this time. When Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, he objected in writing to its provision allowing for the indefinite detention of US citizens by the armed forces. The provision remains in the 2013 version, but he didn’t even bother objecting this time around. Apparently he’s warmed to the idea that he can imprison
his US enemies and throw away the key, without recourse or due process or explanation, even if those enemies happen to be US citizens residing in the US. He claims he won’t use the power (doing so in writing last year). But how can you tell a politician is lying? Indeed, his lips are forming words, from an NBC news article on the matter:
“I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” Obama wrote. “Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation.” His signing statement for the new version of the law contained no such language.
The US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps (and maybe even the Coast Guard) are now legally authorized to detain US citizens on US soil for indefinite periods whether they have a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all. They answer only to the President, and he answers to no one.
The plain language of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution provides that:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
But to the American Civil Liberties Union, the president’s word alone was insufficient. “President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day.” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement. “His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended.”
But this is small beer. The ability to detain US citizens indefinitely can’t mean much to a man who already orders their assassination on his whim.
I told my daughter about this last night. I told her by that the time she’s my age, she would likely be living in a wholly fascist state, ruled by a succession of petite tyrants. My daughter is sixteen; I’m fifty. I doubt it takes that long. The constitutional republic, if ever it lived, resolutely died shortly after those planes hit the towers. Obama’s megalomaniacal presidency is simply its coffin being nailed tightly shut.