WASHINGTON -- The White House released rules Tuesday evening waiving the most controversial piece of the new military detention law, and exempting U.S. citizens, as well as other broad categories of suspected terrorists.
Indefinite military detention of Americans and others was granted in the defense authorization bill President Barack Obama signed just before Christmas, sparking a storm of anger from civil libertarians on the left and right.
The new rules -- which deal with Section 1022 of the law -- are aimed at soothing many of their gravest concerns, an administration official said. Those concerns are led by the possibility that a law that grants the president authority to jail Americans without trial in Guantanamo Bay based on secret evidence could easily be abused. (read the full article here)
Let's start with the fact that I'm not your typical Obama basher. It serves no purpose to bash his character in my opinion. He's not an unattractive fella, he likes Al Green, thinks Kanye West is a jackass, has Nas on his iPod, and his delivery is silky smooth. All the above are things we have in common. Oh and I honestly don't care where he was born. There are a few knee-jerk reactions to the question "why no one is impressed."
Facing facts, there are flat-out Obama haters out there, and as local bar owner, skeptical libertarian, and my friend Brandon pointed out "if fox called Obama " the shoe wearing president " in a smug patronizing tone, billions of republicans would repeat it thinking they were being clever and insulting." Tough point to argue. However, let's stay on the topic at hand.
I should correct myself in saying "no one is impressed" because, as expected, some are impressed. I'd imagine the ones who are impressed are the ones who read the headline, maybe the first two sentences of the article, and move on.
Yes, "the White House released rules Tuesday evening waiving the most controversial piece of the new military detention law, and exempting U.S. citizens, as well as other broad categories of suspected terrorists." However, as the article points out, this refers to section 1022:
All persons arrested and detained according to the provisions of section 1021, including those detained on U.S. soil, whether detained indefinitely or not, are required to be held by the United States Armed Forces. The law affords the option to have U.S. citizens detained by the armed forces but this requirement does not extend to them, as with foreign persons. Lawful resident aliens may or may not be required to be detained by the Armed Forces, "on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States."
Key part to notice is "are required to be held." So the new rules released by the White House address that part, wonderful. These new rules, however, make no changes to section 1021:
In General- Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
Not to mention the three myths about the detention bill as pointed out by Glenn Greenwald. Of course, if all else fails, the government can just strip you of your citizenship under the Enemy Expatriation Act, then you won't have to waste your time with nitpicking about the NDAA applying to US citizens.
So while it's a nice gesture and good PR to make this smoke and mirrors-y move, don't get overconfident that you won't get sent to gitmo just yet...there still may be a cockmeat sandwich in your future.