Senator: Limit Executive Power

Posted by Marty Jensen


Many voices are raising a warning that S 1867 The National Defense Authorization Act bill contains language which grants the executive branch the power to use the military in the U.S. against American citizens, and to allow for indefinite detention of suspected or accused terrorists.

One source, the ACLU, says:

"In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.

In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention."

I am very concerned that with the USA Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, basic civil liberties are being traded away for security, and we are duplicating a pattern seen in totalitarian regimes of the past; we are moving further into a harsh police state environment.

I am further concerned that fear of terrorism has spawned a lucrative security-industrial complex which threatens to inhibit the freedoms our Founders fought to free us from--all in the name of increased security. The profit incentives encourage a rising level of fear which may or may not be justified, but which results in an increasingly restrictive and potentially abusive police state.

I for one have less fear of terrorists than I do of a terrorizing Federal government. We have seen the patterns before in such places as Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, and other places. Let us not go down the path they went; let us not trade our liberty for a secure dictatorship.

Please carefully examine S1867 in light of these concerns, and if appropriate, support Senator Udall's amendment--or introduce your own amendment.

Thank you for defending our liberties.