The National Defense Authorization Act – NDAA – is done every year to authorize the budget for the Department of Defense. The difference this time is in the additional provisions that go far beyond the norm and gives the military authority to engage in civil law enforcement.
While it is intended for terror suspects that are apprehended on US soil, because the war on terror is not a war on a specific state (nation), it has no parameters or timetable and could be used to detain, forever, anyone that the government considers a threat to national security.
That is where the concerns lie.
Many fear that this could lead to a police state situation with Americans being detained and in violation of their constitutional rights. It seems to give far too much power to the executive branch and while Mr. Obama has stated that his administration would not authorize the indefinite military detention of American Citizens without a trial, there is nothing that assures Americans that future administrations won’t.
So, the question is whether this is in violation to the constitution or not?
Many have argued that it is but it should also be pointed out that there are provisions in it, namely on page 657 as Rep. Allen West has detailed, that protect American Citizens. The NDAA could be in violation of the constitution in a few different ways, such as the 14th Amendment with respect to equal protection under the law, and the 5th and 6th Amendments by suspending due process and habeas corpus.
The concern that I have is that while I am a strong supporter of the need for stronger national security, does this give the government too much power and authority and does it strip away the rights that are protected for American Citizens under the constitution? While we need to fund our military, and we need a strong national defense, we do not need to do so at the expense of our constitutional liberties.
- Kellie Greene