Peter G. Cohen
Op-Ed Nation of change
Published: Thursday 3 May 2012
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) tramples on the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which are the very amendments that were demanded by some of the Founding Fathers before they would accept the Constitution.
Last Fall conservative Senate members slipped into a budget bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), several sections that threaten to destroy the very freedoms we have been fighting for. With the idea that the United States itself is part of the battlefield of terrorism, the NDAA makes is possible for a president to direct the military to police our nation and to arrest and hold suspects in indefinite detention!
The NDAA passed the Congress and the President quietly signed it into law on New Year’s eve 2011. The dangerous sections were opposed by the Department of Justice and the military as confusing to the antiterrorism efforts of the FBI’s Terrorism Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security, while giving the military an assignment for which it is not trained and does not want.
The NDAA tramples on the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These are the very amendments that were demanded by some of the Founding Fathers before they would accept the Constitution. It squashes Amendment IV, forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures and requiring probable cause. It destroys the right to a speedy and public trial, charge, council and witnesses of Amendment VI. It allows indefinite detention in opposition to Amendment VIII, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment.
If the NDAA provisions that overrule the Constitution are not repealed, they will become the law of the land. In normal times we would rely on the Supreme Court to declare them unconstitutional. But this Supreme Court has said that corporations are people and share their rights. (Can they too be held in indefinite detention?) We cannot trust this court to “secure the Blessings of liberty” without extensive popular pressure.
The best way to assure that we can pass on this blessed heritage to our children and grandchildren is to demand that all of our Constitutional rights be fully restored and that all rights-limiting legislation be repealed now. Our freedoms are always more important than our fears. That to protect our rights all suspects - even dangerous ones - must have fair and open trials. And that we, like the Founding Fathers, are determined to live free and to maintain the rule of law in the face of whatever dangers may lie ahead.
There is only one way to save our freedoms from the dust bin of history. WE MUST FIGHT FOR THEM NOW. We must organize and demonstrate and exercise our freedoms across the United States. If we do not, they will be lost. It will require a movement, a sense of flag-waving solidarity that we have not seen since the attack of 9-11-01. While we have been told we are fighting for freedom abroad, a far greater danger has been corrupting our freedoms at home. The Bill of Rights are the freedoms we have been fighting for. It is our duty to see that they are passed on, intact, to future generations.