Worst Law That I Can Remember

This is simply an awful law.  If you had asked me ten years ago if we would see the President (a Democrat yet) claiming the right to assasinate Americans and the Congress threatening to pass a bill requiring the indefinite detention, without trial, of people within our borders, I would never have believed it.  At first I was excited to see that Obama was threatening a veto, but then I read that he was not upset about indefinite detention, but only that Congress was threatening to tie his hands and proscribe certain options.  Obama wants to have the choice of whether to offer certain individuals due process or indefinite decision.

For more, see Rand Paul v. John McCain

Postscript:  As usual, I am left flat by the debate over whether certain injustices, like indefinite detention, apply to all humanity or just foreigners.  I have yet to parse anything in our founder's national rights arguments behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that justify why folks born outside our borders have fewer rights than those born inside them.

Update:  More here, including a lot from the ACLU.  We are supposed to feel better because John McCain says that this only applied to Al Qaeda.  But how in the hell do we know with any confidence that the folks the President locks up are Al Qaeda?  Its bad enough to declare a whole new crime, that of being a member of a certain organization.  The US, through its history, has been much better than most nations in avoiding banning certain parties and organizations.  But even if we accept this law, doesn't there need to be some due process?

I suppose I understand that if I captured a guy in an SS uniform in WWII who 10 seconds ago was shooting at me, locking him up as a POW might not require a ton of due process.  Last I checked, the AQ folks didn't have a uniform or anything.  And most of them are not routinely shooting at us.

We didn't even pass this kind of horrible law at the height of Cold War anti-communist hysteria.  Can you see Johnson or Nixon (or Hoover) being able to indefinitely detain anyone they thought was a member of the Communist Party?


  1. me:

    Which is why I reiterate my call for Warren for pres... wait. Twice today? ;)

  2. me:

    Also: Wow. The Rand Paul speech is actually worth listening to in its entirety. A politician who can actually speak and is reasonable on the record?!

  3. Mike S:

    This is especially bad, given that not only does the administration considers everyone from Tea Partiers, returning vets, and Ron Paul supporters to be potential terrorists, but also the FBI is responsible for the creation of all domestic terrorists. They actively go out, recruit, train, and arm "terrorists" in order to "catch them in the act." With this, the Feds will be able to pick an enemy, "recruit" them into terrorism, and detain them indefinitely without trial.

    But they probably won't even need to put that much effort into it, if they can just "suspect" someone of "terrorism" and snatch 'em up and make 'em disappear.

  4. jamessir bensonmum:

    Gentlemen, the crap has been officially scared out of me.

    Seriously, we are all threatened by this. This is worse than what the USSR did during the Cold war. They didn't have as much of a police state - especially one so wired in and computerized - as we do. And we have drones, too, to strike anyone anywhere. Sovereignty be damned.

  5. me:

    Ah, but Mike, given that we're living in times of strained budgets, isn't it a wonderful thing that our masters have decided that we can now infinitely detain or kill anyone without process (never mind the due)? Don't you feel much safer with these emergency powers in the hand of the government?

  6. ParatrooperJJ:

    You might study the law of land warfare a little more. If you capture someone in an enemy uniform you have to treat them as a POW. If you capture them out of uniform you can execute them on the spot. In order for Al Queda to get POW protections they had 30 days from the initiation of hostilities to publish their chain of command and create recognisable uniforms. They did not, and as a result do not get Geneva protections.

  7. Bram:

    We didn't pass these kinds of laws during the Cold War because we were trying to be better than the commies. Now the commies are in charge.

  8. Gil:

    Did you mean to have a link in the "More Here" update?

  9. Scott:

    think about this, there is no membership records of Al-Qaeda. There's no application or acceptance. You don't have a card. Whether you're a member of al-qaeda is really very subjective.

    I realized this when I was downloading a bunch of al-awlaki's material (just out of curiosity at what kinds of things he said). What's to stop the Feds from saying I'm a member of Al-Qaeda? Why else would I have Al-Qaeda material on my computer? Why would I have listened to it?