Tuesday, December 6, 2011

National Defense Authorization Act Controversy

There has been a lot of controversy over the latest version of the NDAA(National Defense Authorization Act)H.R. 1540/S.1867. Two parts of this bill seem to stick out in many peoples minds, and with good reason. The first is Section(s) 1031 and 1032 which cover the use of military force and the detention of terrorist suspects. The controversy comes over some very vague wordings which could, it seems, be used to detain American Citizens indefinitely in a place like Guantanamo.

The bill is being hailed by many as the suspension of our constitutional rights. I don't think it's as bad as it's being made out to be, but at the same time we have seen to many abuses of power from our government and law enforcement over the last few years,to be at the very least worried that someone might take this out of context and abuse the vague wording.
SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.
(a) In General – Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) Covered Persons – A covered person under this section is any person as follow:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

(c) Disposition Under Law of War – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.

(d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress – The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

SEC. 1032. REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.
(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War -
(1) IN GENERAL – Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.

(2) COVERED PERSONS – The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031who is determined–
(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR – For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.

(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY – The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security of the United States.
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens -
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

The bill also repeals a former military ban on sodomy. There is a problem with this one, the definition of sodomy also includes sex with animals. So now, if you are in the military you can have sex with another man, or that man's dog if you so choose.

"(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
This part of the bill has been repealed, effectively allowing Gay men to engage in consensual sex(a nice accent to the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy)But it also allows them to engage in coitus with livestock if they see fit. Kinda creepy if you ask me.

It is also bashed for limiting the Commander in Chief's ability to stop terrorists and will do more harm than good in the long term.

Only 7 of our elected senators voted against this bill, despite the widespread criticism of it by the general public. Many in the government have opposed this bill as well, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, the CIA, the military, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, the Director of National Intelligence, etc.



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