Are Americans in Line for Gitmo?
by Ray McGovern
December 05, 2011
Ambiguous but alarming new wording tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and just passed by the Senate is reminiscent of the “extraordinary measures” introduced by the Nazis after they took power in 1933.
And the relative lack of reaction so far calls to mind the oddly calm indifference with which most Germans watched the erosion of the rights that had been guaranteed by their own constitution. As one German writer observed, “With sheepish submissiveness we watched it unfold, as if from a box at the theater.”
The writer was Sebastian Haffner (real name Raimund Pretzel), a young German lawyer worried at what he saw in 1933 in Berlin but helpless to stop it since, as he put it, the German people “collectively and limply collapsed, yielded, and capitulated.”
“The result of this millionfold nervous breakdown,” wrote Haffner at the time, “is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world.” Not a happy analogy.
The Senate bill, in effect, revokes an 1878 law known as the Posse Comitatus Act, which banned the Army from domestic law enforcement after the military had been used — and often abused — in that role during Reconstruction. Ever since then, that law has been taken very seriously — until now. Military officers have had their careers brought to an abrupt halt by involving federal military assets in purely civilian criminal matters.