The U.S. Senate in general and
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., in particular, prove that
the assaults on the Constitution and innate civil liberties are truly bipartisan.
Levin and McCain, both members
of the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Levin is the chairman,
introduced an amendment into SB 1867 — the National Defense Authorization Act —
that allows the U.S. military to arrest any U.S. citizen and detain them
indefinitely. No charges need be brought, just a suspicion or allegation of
some terrorist association, and no trial need ever be held.
Only seven senators — three
Republican, three Democrat and one independent — voted against the bill that
would provide both military funding in 2012 and continue the erosions of liberties
guaranteed in the Fifth and Sixth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The Fifth Amendment guarantees
that, “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process
The Sixth Amendment says: “In
all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and
public trial, by an impartial jury … to be confronted with the witnesses
against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence[sic].”
The measure also violates the
Posse Comitatis Act prohibition against using the military as a law enforcement
agency. And the amendment makes habeas corpus rights meaningless.
Under this measure, anyone can
be detained with no proof or even evidence of wrongdoing, be sent to places
such as Guantanamo and held indefinitely.
If we allow the destruction of
liberty in the name of fighting terrorism, we’re not defending the country at
all. In the aftermath of 9/11, the mantra was the terrorists hate us because of
our freedoms. If that really was their motivation, then the terrorists have
gotten what they wanted because amendments such as the one McCain and Levin
slipped into SB 1867 absolutely destroy our guaranteed freedoms.
This is most anti liberty piece
of legislation ever written in the US. These types of provisions don’t belong
in any civilized nation. They only exist where liberty is — or was — a null
concept, an idea totally disregarded by those who controlled government in
places like Italy and Germany under Mussolini and Hitler, places like the
former Soviet Union. And like those nations in that time, this measure deserves
to be relegated to scrap heap of history under a sign the reads, “Avoid At All
About the only good thing to
come of this so far is that President Obama has said he would veto the bill if
it would get to him with this amendment. Yet, we place no great faith in that
since the Mr. Obama has authorized the assassination of American citizens
without due process.
The provisions in the National
Defense Authorization Act would continue that trend to destroy liberty and have
come about with the approval of Republicans and Democrats alike. The senators
who voted for the measure should be impeached.