This is coming from one of the main establishment voices in the American media. This raises two questions. First, why do "wartime presidents" in America get to suspend the constitution when they say so? Second, what exactly is preventative detention?
According to Constitutional lawyer and blogger Glen Greenwald, it doesn't "merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding". This would include people like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who according to just released "torture memos", was waterboarded 183 times, Such suspects are difficult to convict without using evidence obtained by torture.
Greenwald continues, "Far more significant, 'preventive detention' allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally 'dangerous' by the Government for various reasons..."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs elaborated on this need, "These detainees based on any number of circumstances aren't able to be tried but still pose an obvious threat to this country."
What is the "War President". This title was given to President George W. Bush as a way to excuse his unconstitutional behavior. In a time of war, anything is justifiable to "protect the American people" right? Greenwald shows the fraudulent nature of this title, "We never go more than a few years without some kind of a direct war, and are always waging covert and indirect ones. American presidents are inherently 'war presidents.' We don't really have any other kind." So this becomes a permanent power, not just during a “time of war” because in the US we are always at war with someone. What we’re really talking about is the permanent power of permanent preventative detention.
For all the Obama loyalists who don’t want to believe their man is capable of this radical totalitarian move I ask, “How is locking up hundreds if not thousands of untried unconvicted Muslim men any different than what FDR did to the Japanese with the internment camps?” Isn’t Guantanamo Bay and other future “detention centers” just internment camps for Muslims?
Essentially, President Obama wants to hold people indefinitely without trial because he said so. It's hard to believe that anyone cannot see the danger in this precedent. Americans' phones have already been tapped without warrants, our library and medical records no longer require warrants to be obtained thanks to the Patriot Act, and now Obama wants to just skip ahead to keeping people imprisoned forever with no charges, no lawyers, no right to habeas corpus, nothing. This is really horrifying.
If we put our loyalty to our principles ahead of our loyalty to presidents, it's clear for all to see Obama is now talking about throwing out the Constitution along with 200 years of legal history, case law, and various precedents in favor of "Even though (Insert name of random Muslim man here) hasn't been convicted, he's guilty and needs to be locked away forever because I say he’s dangerous". If this becomes policy America now becomes a dictatorship.
For those who think: "They're terrorists, they shouldn't have rights!” They are not convicted of any crime yet. In America, we used to have something called “innocent until proven guilty”, now it’s more like “guilty until proven innocent if you’re Muslim”. Just because the government says these suspects are terrorists doesn’t mean anything.
This is the same US Government that told you to go shopping after 9-11, that considered Martin Luther King a dangerous subversive that needed to be spied on, that lied to you about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and has called everyone from Cat Stevens to Nelson Mandela a terrorist. If you still don’t care about these Muslim prisoners being held indefinitely without a crime being committed: now it’s the Muslims. It always starts with the most vulnerable and vilified members of society, but who’s next? The gays? Trade unionists? The Jews?
Consider this quote from Martin Niemoeller, “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
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