Article by Mike Whitney.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) is pushing a bill through congress that will repeal due process and give the President nearly-unlimited powers to wage war wherever and whenever he chooses without congressional approval. Because the language in the so-called Detainee Security Act of 2011 is (intentionally?) vague, it’s impossible to know at whom it is directed. Is the real focus on suspects captured by the military in the so-called War on Terror or civilians who oppose US foreign policy? It’s hard to say. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Talking Points Memo that mulls over that same question:
“The new language eschews references to September 11, and instead centers the authorization on “armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces,” though “associated forces” is not defined. It replaces the authority to target “organizations” and “persons” domestically with the power to target “all entities that continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad.” (“Congress Poised To Give President Power To Continue GWOT Indefinitely”, talkingpointsmemo.com)
Is that vague enough? Huffington Post’s Daphne Eviatar thinks the bill will “authorize the use of military force domestically, if terrorists are found here at home.” But, who knows?
In any event, President Barack Obama did not request these extraordinary powers, so it’s unclear whose interests are being served. Did Rep. McKeon concoct this bill himself in order to make the country safer or is he merely acting in behalf of powerful constituents who want a more autocratic form of government in the US? It’s impossible to know, but it’s odd that a Republican congressmen would want to expand presidential powers when a Democrat is in the White House.
Opposition to the Detainee Security Act of 2011, which is lumped together with the National Defense Authorization Act, has been minimal for the simple reason that the public has no idea what’s going on. This is another stealth campaign by the sleazebag-wing of GOP. The NDAA isn’t even on anyone’s radar, yet. But 32 (progressive) Democrats led by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) oppose many of the bill’s provisions, particularly those that would “allow the war on terrorism to continue indefinitely” and which would “formalize an indefinite detention system at Guantanamo.” (“Congress Poised To Give President Power To Continue GWOT Indefinitely”, talkingpointsmemo.com)