Americans are being betrayed by members of Congress who slipped Section 1031 into the National Defense Authorization Act (Senate Bill 1867): “Congress affirms that the authority of the President…includes the authority for the Armed Forces to detain covered persons…” (those accused of terrorist acts or connections) “without trial until the end of hostilities….”

Remember Jose Padilla? An American citizen, arrested in Chicago, held in military detention for years without charges or a trial. Now, Congress wants to “affirm the authority of the President” to have any American held indefinitely by our military without a trial.

On Nov. 29, the only senator to strongly voice opposition to this was Rand Paul of Kentucky. Quoting from James Madison: “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home,” Paul points out that Congress’ action “puts every single American citizen at risk.”

Paul also quotes Justice Antonin Scalia: “The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system … has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive.”

This is not a partisan issue; no president of either party can be trusted with this much power. Once this law is passed, we have lost our freedom forever; a minority of 41 senators can block repeal.

Details can be found for details. Paul’s speech is at page S7941. Where are Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins on this?

Did our brave forefathers really lay down their lives only to have their cowardly descendants give up our hard-won freedoms for the illusion of security? If S.1867 passes with Section 1031 intact, the terrorists have won. America will no longer be worth fighting for.


John R. Merrill


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