Friday, June 8, 2012

America is a Battlefield

The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) empowers the President to detain "terror suspects" indefinitely, without benefit of a court of law, and without even making this lawless act public. This is the very definition of tyranny, and if allowed to stand would indeed murder what is left of our old republic in its sickbed.

That the vision of the Founders has not yet permanently faded is reflected in the decision of Judge Katherine Forest to declare the law unconstitutional: that the enemies of liberty are tireless is underscored by the Obama administration’s contention that the judge’s decision only means they won’t be able to detain the individuals who brought the lawsuit. So Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky are safe: the rest of us, not so much..,.

The "Homeland battlefield" portions of the NDAA, which have been struck down by the court, are not specifically aimed at members of Al Qaeda, or allied groups, and this lack of specificity is what drove the judge’s decision. Government lawyers argue that the President, in his role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, must be free to act on the battlefield "in wartime" – and that, in our eternal "war on terrorism," America is a battlefield.

It’s an argument with some interesting implications. Given that perpetual warfare is the animating principle of American foreign policy in the post-9/11 era, no special circumstances are required before President Obama sends the Koch brothers off to Guantanamo.

Like the Bush administration before it – whose top security officials issued a letter before the judge’s decision, arguing that to strike down the "homeland battlefield" provisions would be "unconstitutional" – this liberal White House is committed to the legal doctrine of presidential supremacism, which argues that the chief executive’s role as commander-in-chief trumps all constitutional checks and balances, including the Bill of Rights.