Nearly three years later, Guantanamo Bay remains open with prisoners being held without trial, and a new law enacted with the stroke of his pen could mean more American citizens will be joining them soon.
With people partying worldwide in naïve bliss on New Year’s Eve, December 31, Pres. Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act giving the military extraordinary sweeping powers to detain United States citizens indefinitely without trial. The law has been widely condemned by civil libertarians, activists, and American citizens who see this as further evidence of the erosion human rights, which began post 9/11 under then-President George W. Bush.
“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” said Pres. Obama in a statement.
Ironically, when Pres. Obama issued the order to close Guantanamo Bay in 2009, he said he desired to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.” His signing the NDAA into law does exactly the opposite, and critics believe America has witnessed one of the most tragic reversals of civil liberties in its history.
“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.” [READ MORE]