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Obama wants to “tweak” the Defense Authorization Bill…

[ According to Paul Craig Roberts, Mr. “Obama” does NOT object to the idea of indefinitely detaining Americans he suspects of crimes against the government, but rather he objects that such Americans would be technically classified as “prisoners of war” — since that would preclude the legality of torturing them… In other words, the “Obama” people do not want to recognize the “laws of war” such as those described in the Geneva Convention, etc. As Roberts puts it: “The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights…” ]

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Misreading the Fight Over Military Detention: Obama Regime Has No Constitutional Scruples

Paul Craig Roberts

During an interview with RT on December 1, I said that the US Constitution had been shredded by the failure of the US Senate to protect American citizens from the detainee amendment sponsored by Republican John McCain and Democrat Carl Levin to the Defense Authorization Bill. The amendment permits indefinite detention of US citizens by the US military. I also gave my opinion that the fact that all but two Republican members of the Senate had voted to strip American citizens of their constitutional protections and of the protection of the Posse Comitatus Act indicated that the Republican Party had degenerated into a Gestapo Party.

These conclusions are self-evident, and I stand by them.

However, I jumped to conclusions when I implied that the Obama regime opposes military detention on constitutional grounds. Ray McGovern and Glenn Greenwaldmight have jumped to the same conclusions.

An article by Dahlia Lithwickin Slate reported that the entire Obama regime opposed the military detention provision in the McCain/Levin amendment. Lithwick wrote: “The secretary of defense, the director of national intelligence, the director of the FBI, the CIA director, and the head of the Justice Department’s national security division have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the bill are a bad idea. And the White House continues to say that the president will veto the bill if the detainee provisions are not removed.”

I checked the URLs that Lithwick supplied. It is clear that the Obama regime objects to military detention, and I mistook this objection for constitutional scruples.

However, on further reflection I conclude that the Obama regime’s objection to military detention is not rooted in concern for the constitutional rights of American citizens. The regime objects to military detention because the implication of military detention is that detainees are prisoners of war . As Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin put it: Should somebody determined “to be a member of an enemy force who has come to this nation or is in this nation to attack us as a member of a foreign enemy, should that person be treated according to the laws of war? The answer is yes.”

Detainees treated according to the laws of war have the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They cannot be tortured. The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights. These rights would interfere with the regime’s ability to send detainees to CIA torture prisons overseas. This is what the Obama regime means when it says that the requirement of military detention denies the regime “flexibility.”

The Bush/Obama regimes have evaded the Geneva Conventions by declaring that detainees are not POWs, but “enemy combatants,” “terrorists,” or some other designation that removes all accountability from the US government for their treatment.

By requiring military detention of the captured, Congress is undoing all the maneuvering that two regimes have accomplished in removing POW status from detainees.

A careful reading of the Obama regime’s objections to military detentionsupports this conclusion.

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