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View Diary: Indefinite detention: Can we ask how the United States got here? (198 comments)

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  •  The NDAA is voted on every year (7+ / 0-)

    The NDAA is an appropriation bill that specifies how the US will pay for military activities.  The NDAA gets written and passed every year.  Because the bill is a "must pass" bill in congress, it become the bill into which ear-marks, special measures, and all sorts of other legislative tid-bits which would otherwise have a hard time getting approval are placed.  This explains why the "indefinite detention" measure got passed so quickly.

    Purpose-written measures such marriage equality will always take much longer to pass.

    As to why the executive and legislative wanted this particular measure at this time, I think you answered that question in your article: there are prisoners in Guantanomo who (guilty or not) we cannot or refuse to release.  So therefore, there must be a law that says we can hold them forever, and some way to pay for the expenses of holding them  Sec 1021 of NDAA 2012 provides for this.  Pres. Obama signs this thing because he needs to make legal fact what he is de facto doing: keeping foreigners in permanent limbo.

    I think this explanation also tells us why they included those curious parapgraphs about how this measure do not change existing laws regarding US citizens: obviously, the people we are holding in limbo in Gauntanamo are not US citizens, so the bill tells us "this really only applies to other people".

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 07:03:39 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  This is a reasonable explanation of why, (4+ / 0-)

      which still doesn't make what they do the correct thing to do.

      •  No it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

        Sen. Mark Udall, back when he was a Congressman, talked about the Iraq War by saying that the best solution to our involvement in the Iraq War was not to have gotten in to it in the first place, but since we had already committed ourselves, there was no simple way of getting out of it responsibly.

        The same applies here.  Bush and Cheney and their "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the incredibly poor job they did during the round-up of terrorists and not-so-much-terrorists have left us in a really lousy situation.  We have a few people in Guantanamo who almost certainly had direct ties to 9/11 and/or other al-Qaeda attacks, and who would certainly be dangerous to release (if only for the propaganda of having their trials not result in guilty verdicts for any reason whatsoever...) - yet we've corrupted the process so much that it might be impossible to convict them even in a military tribunal.

        Whether the Obama administration supported these provisions in secret or not (and, given that they are an extension of the ban on bringing Guantanamo suspects here to the US for civilian trials, I lean toward Obama not being involved), I tend to agree that they're a reaction to past events as much as or more than any attempt to extend power in the long term.

        Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

        by Phoenix Rising on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 08:51:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Call me simplistic (0+ / 0-)
          but since we had already committed ourselves, there was no simple way of getting out of it responsibly.

          But there certainly ways to exit Iraq in a responsible manner that didn't require an 8+ year occupation.

        •  The propaganda thing I'm not so convinced of. (0+ / 0-)

          The propaganda machines of the world, whether new or decades old, are there. And how do we know we can't try these people, for certain? And if we don't, and continue torture (this obviously and openly) and forever detentions, who the hell are we?

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