The version of the National Defense Authorization Act recently passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee omitted a controversial provision that would have authorized the United States to use military force in any part of the world that was suspected to contain terrorists, including within the U.S. itself.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, which first voiced its opposition to the measure, the “worldwide war” provision was “nowhere to be found” in the official language of the legislation recently released by the committee.
Section 1034 was added to the National Defense Authorization Act by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA). The ACLU described the provision as the “single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history.”
Although the ACLU is pleased that the “worldwide war” provision was omitted from the Senate version of the bill, they are upset other provisions were not also omitted.
The “indefinite detention” provisions authorize the federal government to indefinitely detain civilians, transfer some prosecutorial responsibility from the Department of Justice to the Department of Defense and mandate the military detention of certain civilian suspects.
“These provisions are inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the Constitution and in this country’s adherence to the rule of law,” Sam Milgrom of the ACLU said.
Eric W. Dolan
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