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VINSON: Is National Defense Authorization Act ‘Highway to Hell’?

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Sometimes, I grow weary of making reference in my columns to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America.

However, the end product of that cataclysmically destructive day forever altered our society: legally, militarily, ethnically, religiously, politically, etc. – an alteration that promises to persist for ages to come.

Resultant of those 9/11 attacks, two major events unfolded: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was formed, and the USA PATRIOT Act was drafted and enacted.

Though used mostly at the federal level, the Patriot Act affords collective American law enforcement greater latitude and longitude in battling terrorism.

Essentially, law enforcement, via the legislation, now has the authority to arrest anyone, anywhere, on mere suspicion, without a warrant, and hold the detainee at an undisclosed location for an indefinite period of time without allowing that person any contact with family, friends or legal counsel.

Adding even more fuel to this already-scorching-hot political fire is the National Defense Authorization Act.

The brainchild of Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the NDAA has been passed by both Houses of Congress, and the final version awaits President Barack Obama’s signature.

Though Obama has threatened to veto NDAA, there is strong speculation that, ultimately, he will sign off on it. Although, his decision to sign or not sign off on NDAA probably will rely on whichever choice he feels will garner him the most votes in the 2012 presidential election.

On the surface, from what I thus far have gathered, the NDAA would basically serve as an “extra tentacle” of the Patriot Act.

Unlike the latter, the U.S. military would be in control.

An attorney friend offered his opinion:

“The National Defense Authorization Act would give the U.S. military the authority to arrest and hold in a secret location, for an indefinite period of time, anyone suspected of being a threat to national security, and, just like the Patriot Act, deny the person being held the right to confer with defense counsel, and, also, without charges being presented in court, or even the right to trial – much less a fair and speedy trial by a jury of his peers!” my attorney friend emphatically declared.

“More or less, with this NDAA, the military would have the right to kick down your door, drag you or a family member from your home, or stop you at a traffic light and yank you from your car, and whisk you off to parts unknown... never to be seen nor heard from again, possibly. This NDAA has the potential to so infringe on the rights afforded by our U.S. Constitution – particularly the writ of habeas corpus – that those who are pro-NDAA, in my opinion, might as well be burning the American flag on the town square, while having a keg party and dancing to AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ because if someone in a position of authority doesn’t put a stop to these non-thought-out, over-the-edge laws, that’s exactly where America’s heading.”

For unbiased balance, it is necessary to recognize that America has become a battlefield of sorts: Yes, there are a large number of both illegal immigrants and, sadly, legitimate American citizens who despise America and desire to cause her great harm.

That said, it makes sense that protective elements – law enforcement and military agencies – have the means necessary to “protect.”

The key concern here, as I see it, is the fine line that separates those in law enforcement and the military who truly want to protect and serve versus those of a Gestapo mindset whose primary agenda is to abuse, bully and destroy.

We can only pray that the good cops and soldiers outnumber the bad ones.

Mike Vinson can be contacted at mike_vinson56@yahoo.com.
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Barack Obama, Mike Vinson, NDAA, Politics, Voices
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January 01, 2012 at 12:43pm
One New Year's Eve, President Obama signed the NDAA into law.

“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” Mr. Obama said in a statement issued in Hawaii, where he is on vacation. “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”

I'm unclear how any law can be passed while having any reservations. Fortunately, Congressman Scott DesJarlais has co-sponsored H.R. 3676 - "To amend the detainee provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 to specifically state that United States citizens may not be detained against their will without all the rights of due process afforded to citizens in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution of the United States."
January 01, 2012 at 1:01pm
We used to condemn regimes where people just disappeared, into the prisons of dictatorships. Now, the US has made it legal with the NDAA and Patriot acts.

These laws effectively change the constitution, and should be declared invalid for this reason.

Such laws are used to restrict free speech. So many people think that political opinions different from their own are anti American, when just the opposite is true. A democrat's opinion may be different from a republican's, but the purpose of our free speech is to ensure that we can openly discuss our own dreams for the america that we want.

We can not have governments acting in secret so we as voters do not know enough to exercise our right to move our country toward what we think is better.

Today there is altogether too much government secrecy and much of it is for reasons other than protecting america from harm. Secrecy in government is used to keep people ignorant to affect the outcome in the polls, to hide inept government departments from accountability and to protect politicians and bureaucrats from public scrutiny. These are the reasons that Wikileaks is so popular.

People understand that a government has to have some secrets from the people in international matters where information leaks via the people could hurt the country.

The problem today is that secrecy is rampant and far beyond any reasonable justification.

Whatever your view of what America should be, if is not undemocratic for you to want to move your country in a direction that you see as better. Some Americans want a us to be seen as a gentler and more just international citizen. Others want a stronger military presence. Neither of these goals are anti american. Freedom to have and discuss these opinions is what makes America great.
January 02, 2012 at 4:00pm
Everyone who was a part of this bill getting passed should be thrown out of office. I don't care what party they belong to. This bill is unAmerican.
January 02, 2012 at 11:26pm
if they can't do it with the patriot act that speaks volumes. We all know where there is a system people will abuse it. to what extent something it may be abuses is the scary part and this scares me. right on JRB2429
January 03, 2012 at 1:40pm
Mike, it is the HIGHWY TO HELL> It's too bad Nobama is made to live up to what he's throwing at us. He's the biggest threat our country has and I don't care what party you are, you had better wake up. What is it going to take for you to see this blackhearted man who bows to our enemy's leaders, to see he out to take every freedom you and I may have. This is an outrage and i hope 3676 will pass! We all need to write our congressman today. Mine is introducing the bill!
January 03, 2012 at 6:24pm
AMEN! This NDAA is pure crap! You got to wonder what is the mentality of the politicians that come up with this garbage. That's what scares me.
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