Turn off your Greenwald-nuked limbic systems for just a moment and talk to me like we're all adults with triple-digit IQs and some measure of emotional self-control: Is it actually a fact that the revised Defense bill authorizes indefinite detention of Americans? Is it actually a fact that the revised Defense bill authorizes such detentions on American soil? Is it actually a fact that, having proven the previous two points, the President intends to sign that bill? Do not respond to this diary with a one-word affirmation, simply repeating the claims.
Frankly, there is a trust gap on this issue between me and the diarists / bloggers whipping up the outrage over it. I've too often seen some of these people bootstrap an issue out of thin air from some kind of compulsive personal contempt for the President. Now, that isn't to say this isn't real - I don't know. That's why I'm requesting a reality check here. There may or may not be something truly dangerous going on. It's just I see many of the same hallmarks of that pattern of behavior in the discussion surrounding it - going from concern to anxiety to fear and then to abject, hysterical terror without the core set of facts changing, all just from allowing reactions to build on themselves.
I won't pretend to hope I'm wrong, because if I am then there would be very real peril involved to our republic - if not from this particular President, then from the very next Republican to sit in the Oval Office who inherits the alleged powers involved. But again, there is a trust gap between me and many of the people making the claim, and the evidence provided in the diaries about it thus far has amounted to second-hand, third-hand, or even meta-hand information (e.g., citing the fearful discussion itself as a reason to be afraid). So, I await whatever facts can be given one way or another. And remember, the following are not evidence:
- Blog editorials making the claim without support, or whose only support is other editorials making the same claim.
- Articles that refer only to the original bill in demonstrating the claim.
- Language from the original bill that you fail to show is also in the revised bill.
Thanks for being adults.
3:47 PM PT: I am now convinced of the following: That the bill is a seriously irresponsible abdication and travesty of American law and principles by codifying into statute existing practices of indefinitely detaining non-Americans. However, neither existing practice, nor the language of the final bill, nor the administration's record on indefinite detentions supports the claim that this gives them the power, either legally or practically, to detain Americans indefinitely. The Constitution remains paramount, and otherwise extraneous language subordinating detention provisions to "existing law" recognizes that. But let me say again, the President has badly failed to lead on civil liberties.
4:15 PM PT: G2Geek has posted a very convincing argument in the comments that the bill is simply a conflict over jurisdiction between military and civilian officials in managing detentions, and that the President has sided with the civilian authority. It is still an abdication to some extent in even permitting dangerous ambiguities to persist, but it now seems far less disturbing to me.
5:13 PM PT: Apparently it was AZDem that originally pointed out the above argument, not G2Geek, although G2Geek brought it to the attention of this diary.