Locked Up

The National Defense Authorization Act would make Kafka roll over in his grave

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) declares U.S. soil a battlefield and authorizes the military to detain terror suspects indefinitely, without right to counsel unless specifically authorized. This bill is the most un-American of bills ever taken up by the Senate. The passage of this bill would set back political and philosophical evolution in the United States by hundreds of years, and it raises the stakes of the current struggle against political and economic injustice.

The potential to curtail Americans’ natural rights is built into the NDAA because it takes away rights to fair civilian trials for the accused. It’s dangerous enough that the president broke his promise to dismantle Guantanamo.

I won’t assert that co-sponsors Levin and McCain wrote this bill specifically to wield the force of the military against political dissidents; that would be a logical fallacy. But that this bill has bipartisan and majority support indicates most of the Senate have no moral or ethical issues with subverting the natural rights of human beings for, at best, a marginal increase in domestic security. At worst, there is no doubt that if this act is signed into law it could be abused to detain political dissenters.

Americans should, at a minimum, be cautious if the NDAA becomes law. Be prepared to keep your mouths shut, go to work, consume gratuitously and forget about your natural rights as human beings, because to speak out could mean potentially being sent to Guantanamo Bay with no hope of release or reprieve.

Forward-thinkers cannot bring about change nonviolently to protect life on this planet if the military seizes its leaders and hauls them to a remote prison in the middle of the night. We must continue to fight now for a sane and just political system, economy and society, as well as the chance to set right the wrongs of the past 400 years. Hope for the best—but prepare to defend what nature has given you freely, that those in power might attempt to take away from you to protect their own interests and wealth.

Kris Magnusson is a senior technical writer for a software company in Marin County. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].

Sonoma County Library