NDAA bill sparks discussion

Noreen Moinuddin



In response to the article previously written about the recent NDAA bill passed, I want to say that I completely agree. As an American who believes in the just intentions of the writers of the constitution, I believe the passing of the bill in the Senate, the passing of the bill in the House and the final signing of the bill on New Year’s Eve by President Obama has taken this country several leaps backward with respect to civil liberties.

Firstly, the bill proposes indefinite detainment of citizens who are suspected terrorists or who are suspected to work with terrorists. Yes, some may argue that this country has a duty to protect itself and its citizens from terrorist threats and/or attacks.  Historically speaking though, the government has done a pretty shoddy job at arresting the right people. But no worries, the bill only allows a maximum of three years of detainment without question, so no big deal. What’s three years of your life locked behind bars, right?

Secondly, the fact that it even proposes indefinite detainment completely destroys the meaning of due process. Whatever happened to the phrase “innocent until proven guilty”?  The NDAA permits the government to detain people “under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities.”  What are considered “hostilities”, and how do we reach such an end? The vagueness of this wording welcomes a whole can of bias human rights violations.

No wonder he signed it on New Years Eve. The whole country was distracted.

The NDAA soon stirred up quite a wave in some communities, but as expected, it was temporary. There were a couple of dry news reports here and several angry tweets there, but nothing strong enough to instigate real change.

In my opinion, I don’t think anything anyone says will actually do anything. Yet. However, if there was a situation in the near future where detainment of a person is universally viewed as ridiculous, I think the American community has a pretty fair chance of pressuring the government.

We just need to speak up when the time is right.