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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Addressing Levin and McCain's Apologists

Nov 29th, 2011

An ugly push is being made by those who would see our country pick and choose who is affected by the detention provisions in S1867. They point to this in particular:

From section 1032 which specifically addresses the impositions of 1031
(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.

This is not a prohibition on citizen detention. Though it is not a "requirement," it is also not prohibited. It simply means that the detention of citizens and their classification is left to the Executive Branch.

It is worth examining this exchange from today's debate between Sen. Rand Paul (about whom I am proud for the very first time) and Sen. John McCain.

Sen. Paul: "My question would be under the provisions would it be possible that an American citizen then could be declared an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely."

Sen. McCain: "I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat."

To represent this as some sort of protection against the arbitrary abuse of expanded war powers is dishonest.

Nevertheless, that argument is now making the rounds. It has no merit.

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