He did it when he knew we wouldn’t be looking. At a time when the rest of us could be counted on to be immersed in our party preparations last New Year’s Eve, our president surreptitiously signed into law NDAA, a move that the leaders of every budding dictatorship would consider essential.
To put it plainly, the National Defense Authorization Act — an innocuous enough title, like all such sleepers — authorizes the arrest, imprisonment, and killing of anyone, even a U.S. citizen, if the president wants him or her dead. And by U.S. troops, of which our president is the commander in chief.
No way! you’ll probably protest. This is America. Stuff like that goes on only in the dictatorships of the world, the regimes that we hate and try to overthrow. One of the reasons President George W. Bush sent our boys to die in Iraq.
Well, it’s time we faced up. The NDAA is now the law of our land. Depending on the decision, or even the whim, of President Obama or any of his successors, you or any member of your family can now be indefinitely imprisoned or assassinated by U.S. government agents, with no indictment, no trial, no lawyer, no habeas corpus. Have we hereby, at the stroke of a pen, taken an alarming step in descent toward the arbitrary lawlessness of our worst enemies? Do the poor foreign suckers apparently entrapped forever in the Guantanamo Bay sinkhole foretell what’s in store for citizens like us?
Obama boasts that he taught constitutional law for 10 years at a major American university. It’s true, he did. Which makes it all the more difficult to understand his single-handed revocation of the Constitution’s Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth amendments.
All he need do now to invoke this absolute royal power of life or death over any one of us is declare (allege, really) that his target has “substantially supported” forces that are in any way “associated” with enemies of the United States. All these key terms need be defined only by the president, even if he turns out to be a befuddled and cruel dyslexic like George W. Bush.
Translation: If your college-age son or daughter carries a provocative sign in a demonstration supporting some left-leaning cause and if the president feels like it, under terms of NDAA, federal troops will be called in for the pounce.