NDAA needs definite attention

We shouldn’t allow indefinite detention of Americans without due process.

Daily Editorial Board

Since U.S. President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law on Dec. 31, 2011, the U.S. government has been drawing fierce ire and opposition, from civil liberties groups to average citizens. The GOP majority on the House Armed Services Committee has finally started to deliberate changes to the hotly contested indefinite detention measure in the act. As Americans, we need to tell Congress that we reject indefinite detention without charge or trial, and we expect Congress to fix the mess that it has made.

The NDAA’s various objectionable aspects culminate in what amounts to the ability to detain any person — including a U.S. citizen on American soil — without due process. This is an egregious act that goes against Obama’s — as well as many conservative congressmen’s — pledges to be vigilant about civil liberties in the war on terror.

It is constitutionally the burden of the state to prove — in the court of law — absolute guilt of the accused, and until so proven, treat them as innocent. As demonstrated in the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the White House can ignore our country’s Bill of Rights as they please.

A recent hearing against the NDAA on behalf of detained journalists highlighted that neither side of the debate plans to budge an inch. We must urge our representatives that we will not tolerate heinous crimes against our people, and indefinite detention of absolutely anyone without due process is unarguably atrocious. We need to truly ponder Benjamin Franklin’s words that “those who would sacrifice essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”