Military Detention Versus We the People
by: Shahid Buttar
Sunday 27 November 2011
Congress has a deserved reputation for cluelessness. Our leaders have a habit of ignoring real crises like housing, education, mass incarceration, and climate change, while contriving distractions like the budget debate that essentially froze Washington, DC for the past year.
In 2010, the Tea Party rejected the legitimacy of the DC debate, paving the way for the Occupy movement to do the same in 2011. And while those contrasting movements may compete on many issues, they share in common a rejection of Washington’s political establishment.
On Monday, the Senate will grapple with Congress’ latest bipartisan foolishness, the National Defense Authorization Act. Ironically opposed by both the White House and the Pentagon, it would expand preventive and arbitrary detention beyond Guantánamo Bay and the CIA’s shuttered black sites, importing it into the domestic United States.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Senators Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona), approved the bill despite its provisions for military detention of any suspect (even those apprehended within the United States) accused (not proven) of involvement in any terror-related offense. Presumably, military detention would include those accused of offenses as innocuous as “lying to a federal agent,” unrelated to actual terrorism yet classified as terror-related.