How else to explain the U.S. Senate’s headlong rush to give the military the authority to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely and without trial?
Someone the government says is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaida or an associated force” can be held in military custody “without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Those hostilities are currently scheduled to end the Wednesday after never. The move would shut down criminal trials for terror suspects…in the judgment of the University of Texas’ Robert Chesney — a nonpartisan authority on military detention — “U.S. citizens are included in the grant of detention authority.”
The president has mercifully agreed to veto the bill that would allow the US military to seize and detain without any due process anyone, including American citizens, who are suspected of terrorism, even in the US itself.
Forgive me for not seeing this as a great boon to our nation. Let’s face it, a veto will have very few ‘upsides’ in this political climate. The Right will rush to say that our ‘Muslim’ president is coddling his buddies while the spineless democrats will continue to trip over themselves trying to prove how they’re ‘tough’ on terrorism.
We shouldn’t really have to hope that a Presidential veto is our only line of defense against the tossing of constitutional protections.
And apart from our unhinged legislative branch who wants these powers?
It would be one thing if the military was clamoring for the authority to become the nation’s jailer. But to the contrary: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opposes the maneuver. So does CIA Director David Petraeus, who usually commands deference from senators in both parties. Pretty much every security official has lined up against the Senate detention provisions, from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to FBI Director Robert Mueller, who worry that they’ll get in the way of FBI investigations of domestic terrorists.