NDAA 2012 Disinformation

Screaming in ignorance about NDAA 2012Predating the explosion of angst against SOPA and PIPA was all the screaming, moaning, and hand-wringing over the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 – specifically those sections dealing with detainee matters.

Hordes of people, on the Left and the Right, were screaming about how those sections of the NDAA 2012 would allow the government to indefinitely imprison Americans without charges or trial – a gut shot to the Constitution.

Truth be told, I was close to being one of them. The only reason that I didn’t join in the ranting was that there were two versions of the bill in question, one in the House and one in the Senate, and both were being rewritten and reworded too rapidly for me to keep up with them.

When you have to redo a draft post three times in five days, it’s time to step back and wait till things settle – if one cares at all about posting reasonably accurate information.

By the the time the dust settled the issue was laid to rest, despite Obama’s campaign statement upon signing the NDAA 2012 into law.

My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens … Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.

— President Obama, January 1, 2012
NDAA 2012 Signing Statement

The dangerous language that had been in earlier, working versions of both the House and Senate versions of the bill was removed and specific exceptions for American citizens, legal residents, and anyone apprehended within US borders were coded into the final, Enrolled bill which Obama signed into law at the beginning of the year.

Yet the insanity continues, further fueled by Obama’s useless signing statement, as if these very much needed corrections were never made.  Disinformation continues to be spread and the ignorant masses keep lapping it up.

To debunk this idiocy all one has to do is to read the relevant sections (1021 & 1022) of the final version of the 2012 NDAA:

NDAA 2012, Title X, Subtitle D, SEC. 1021

Affirmation of Authority of the armed forces of the United States to detain covered persons pursuant to authorization for use of military force

AUTHORITIES. — Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

— NDAA 2012 p. 265

Under NDAA 2012 the US military still doesn’t have the right to indefinitely detain any US citizen or legal resident. It wasn’t even granted the right to indefinitely detain illegal aliens who are captured or arrested within US borders.

NDAA 2012, Title X, Subtitle D, SEC. 1022

Requirement for military custody


(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS. — The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS. — The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

— NDAA 2012 p. 266

The NDAA 2012 has not in any way called for the requirement of military custody of American citizens or expanded those requirements for legal residents.

But over three weeks after the NDAA 2012 was signed into law and longer since its final version was enrolled people are still ranting and raving over it – all of them referencing admittedly heinous verbiage that was in earlier versions of the bills.

Yes! Earlier versions of the NDAA 2012 included some of the most dangerous language I’ve seen in proposed legislation and, again yes, that language was made even more chilling in context due to some of the rhetoric by individual legislators who obviously didn’t want to abide by the Constitution and had no qualms about “disappearing” American citizens.

Those dangerous and unconstitutional provisions did not, however, survive the final writing of the law. Let me repeat that – Those dangerous and unconstitutional provisions did not survive the final writing of the law

If one wants to continue complaining about the NDAA 2012 and not look like an idiot while doing so, different arguments will have to be raised.

Possibly Valid Complaints

Depending upon your sensibilities the complaints below would still be valid:

  • NDAA 2012 keeps Gitmo open and prevents Obama from moving detainees into the US civilian prison or courts systems
  • NDAA 2012 calls for detention of enemy combatants until the end of hostilities, which is an unforeseen and unforeseeable date in the War on Terror
  • NDAA 2012 could be interpreted as formally legalizing Extraordinary Rendition

But, for the sake of providing some evidence that the American people aren’t a ignorant as many claim us to be, quit ranting about things – no matter how horrific they were – that never saw the light of day as law.

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