On New Year’s Eve, December 31, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. It essentially gives the military the authority to indefinitely detain a terrorist without a trial or charge. Based on the wording of the bill, it would appear that American citizens could be impacted or affected by the bill.

“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorist,” said President Obama.

I know as president, there are times that certain concessions are made to get things accomplished. But on January 22, 2009, President Obama issued as one of his first executive orders was to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility within one year. The prisoners who were held in that facility were being detained indefinitely and that was against our constitution. Three years later, our president has signed into law a bill, which has the potential to curtail certain freedoms, and Guantanamo Bay is not closed.

As the president was signing this bill, he wrote a three page presidential policy statement raising certain concerns about the constitutionality of certain provisions in the bill. It is clear that the president had problems with the bill, and understands that there are inherent dangerous abuses of power in the NDAA.

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union says, “This statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.” This means that citizens that protest an unfair law could be indefinitely detained with this new law.

All of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted against this bill except two. Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Chairmen of the Congressional Caucus stated that the NDAA does not represent the country’s principles. “We all grew up with the belief on the Constitution that we were innocent until proven guilty, and to have people detained, whether it is in this country or another country, without any kind of trial, and to detain people indefinitely is not what America stands for,” says Representative Cleaver.

As more Americans struggle with the terrorist suspected threat, more Americans will be suspected as un-American. Once someone is identified as un-American, they can be added to a list and their movements will be regulated and controlled. The country is moving to the right and the next two election cycles will establish the direction the country will take.

The NDAA is a bill that totals over 500 pages, and contains provisions for continued funding for the war in Afghanistan. Many of the political experts who do not support this bill are branding it as, “Act 2 or Phase 2 of the Patriot Act.” Everyone from the ACLU, worldwide human rights organization Amnesty International, to the FBI has expressed concerns about the bill.

All around the world, the Obama administration has been a major proponent of human rights and freedom for the residents, who are controlled by despotic leaders. Signing into law, a bill that is ambiguous, and curtails First Amendment rights has the potential to abuse human rights. Not only terrorist can be detained, but also affiliates and supporters can be detained.

It is imperative and necessary that this bill is challenged by human rights organizations, the ACLU, religious organizations, and American citizens. The constitutionality of the NDAA must also be challenged by a coalition of organizations, because our country must move forward, and reach its highest human principles and ideals.

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