Long before he reached the White House, Barack Obama made clear he was not against all wars, just "dumb wars." He opposed the Iraq war from the start, but the withdrawal of American combat troops late last year was accomplished in spite of, not because of, his efforts. The Iraqi government refused the Obama administration's request for an extension of the December 31, 2011 deadline for the end of the U.S. occupation under the Status of Force Agreement our two nations had signed while Bush was in office. Obama has begun a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan that is supposed to be completed by 2014, but he also increased the number of attacks by unmanned bombers in neighboring Pakistan and in other parts of the Middle East.
In the past year the U.S. government’s no-fly list has more than doubled, going from about 10,000 names to about 21,000, according to the Associated Press. Among those names are roughly 500 Americans, the AP says, though of course there is no way to verify any of this because the list is kept secret.
Lawmakers in Washington State joined a growing nationwide rebellion this week against the federal government’s purported new power to indefinitely detain Americans suspected of certain crimes under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Legislators in Virginia, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and other states — as well as a broad coalition of activists spanning the entire political spectrum — are also working to kill what critics call the “treasonous” usurpation.
Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers that: “[T]he practice of arbitrary imprisonments [has] been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instrument of tyranny.”
This principle of constitutional liberty, when applied to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), reveals a frightening truth about the powers illegally granted the President in that legislation.
As has been recounted many times (never enough, however, given the urgency of the situation in which our Republic is now found) in this magazine and elsewhere, in various provisions of the NDAA, the Congress granted to the President the power to deploy the military of the United States to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens inside or outside of the United States suspected by him (the President) of posing a military threat to national security.
Once the suspect is imprisoned, the NDAA authorizes the President to deny that person access to legal counsel (in defiance of the Sixth Amendment) and to refuse habeas corpus petitions requiring the government to inform the accused of the crimes with which he or she is being charged (in defiance of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution). This latter deprivation of civil liberties, the one Hamilton described as tyrannical, is being challenged again by a man being held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” These words were written by the Father of the Constitution, James Madison.
The relationship between the U.S. government and the Egyptian regime is coming under increasing pressure as authorities in Egypt shut down American tax-funded “democracy” groups in Cairo while pursuing reforms that are unpopular with the Obama administration and critics in Congress. Meanwhile, within Egypt, tensions between rival interests are also escalating.
As the Obama administration prepares to present a budget to Congress that includes $487 billion in military cuts over the next 10 years, some experts are warning that the downsized defense that is planned could severely jeopardize the nation’s security posture. As reported by the Associated Press, the projected military cuts announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta January 26 would include slashing combat brigades from 45 to as low as 32, and shrinking Army ground forces by at least 80,000 soldiers and the Marines by about 20,000 over the next five years.
The Western-backed overthrow of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi likely provided huge stocks of heavy weapons to terrorist groups and criminal organizations operating in the Sahel region of North Africa, the United Nations confirmed January 26 in a report. Among the groups benefiting from the arms are al-Qaeda and the deadly Islamic terror organization Boko Haram, which is currently on a killing spree in Nigeria.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning former Middle Eastern correspondent for the New York Times is suing President Obama for his signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Chris Hedges served as a journalist at the Old Gray Lady for 15 years, covering such proto-global terror organizations as the PLO and PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), as well as more contemporary bugaboos, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It was his unique résumé that attracted attorneys to Hedges, and they convinced him to sign on as the plaintiff in a case they were planning in which they would directly challenge the constitutionality of the NDAA.