The United States Senate will be voting this week on a bill that would label the entire country as a “battlefield,” allowing law enforcement duties to be handled by the military, giving them authority to detain any US citizen as a war criminal even coming into their own homes to perform arrests.
The latest provision, S. 1867, being considered for addition to The National Defense Authorization Act should be a wake up call to every American as our government continues to increasingly trample on our constitutional freedoms. If S. 1867 passes, lawmakers would have the legal right to keep even regular citizens detained indefinitely by their own military.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a supporter of the bill, has explicitly stated that the passing of S. 1867 would “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield”.
“The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president, and every future president, the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world,” said Chris Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office. “The power is so broad that even US citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.”
“American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?” asked Anders.
The Obama administration has threatened to veto the bill, but given their record of caving in to GOP pressure the President’s stance on the issue is hardly comforting.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has been an outspoken opponent of the legislation, but needs the backing of others if he wants to keep Congress from enacting the provision.
“One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on US soil,” the Senator said in a speech last month. “Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the US military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved.”
The provision actually already passed in the House back in May, and only now is going before the Senator Justin Amash, a Republican representative from Cascade Township, was one of the five House Republicans that voted against it.
“It is destructive of our Constitution,” he writes on his Facebook page. It would“permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the president…The president should not have the authority to determine whether the Constitution applies to you, no matter what the allegations..Note that it does not preclude US citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary.”
Amash added “Please urge your Senators to oppose these outrageous provisions.”
As a solution, Sen. Udall has offered a counter act, being dubbed the Udall Amendment, that would keep S. 1867 from its critical consequences and would instead require lawmakers to examine the necessity of detaining citizens domestically, and instead would make Congress consider whether any detention legislation is needed at all.
Here’s a suggestion. How about we stop trampling on the rights given to every American citizen that make this country so great, we can call it the Stop Trampling on the Right Given to Every American Citizen That Make This Country so Great Act. Has a nice ring to it.