The NDAA: An Act of Infamy for Congress and for Obama
By Dennis Loo
The White House announced on December 15, 2011 that Obama would not veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. The NDAA mandates the military to arrest and indefinitely detain any person, including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including on US soil, who is accused by authorities as a terrorist or alleged to be providing support to terrorists and organizations designated as terrorist. It is now enough - de facto and de jure - to be merely accused, for the sentence to be pronounced upon you by virtue of the accusation, as if Lewis Carroll's Red Queen was now in charge: "First the sentence, then the trial!"
Except now, they won't even bother with a trial, before or after sentence. In doing this, this president and this Congress deserve to go down now and in history as the most infamous and craven in US history.
Barack Hussein Obama, the man who campaigned on a platform of undoing the illegalities and gross injustices of the Bush Regime, has thus affirmed in no uncertain terms which side of history he is on – the side that Franz Kafka famously and graphically derided, the forces that posture, preen and say louder than anyone, while wrapped in the flag and the Bible, that they are the great defenders of Freedom, Liberty, and the Rule of Law, and no sooner as these words leave their lips and their poisoned pens, they cynically carry out the most lawless and most abhorrent practices. These practices deny the People the most minimal protections of due process and the rule of law, the very protections that distinguish tyrannies from just societies.
There are those who had hoped that Obama would veto this patently fascist law. But all the advance indications were negative: his complaints before December 15th's announcement were all about the fact that he considered the NDAA to unduly restrict the executive's prerogatives to do the same things that the NDAA extends to the military - to act under the cover of the "war on terror" to summarily arrest, detain indefinitely - and in Obama's case, assassinate - those who were declared guilty by the government.
More to the point, as Glenn Greenwald has correctly pointed out, the NDAA merely extends to the military the policies that Bush and now Obama, who has one-upped Bush since taking office, have already been engaging in via the White House. For those who remember the "unitary executive" doctrine which came out of the Federalist Society and that the GOP had been championing and still champions today - the notion that the executive branch has unlimited, unsupervisable, unaccountable power - Obama deserves to be feted by the Federalist Society for carrying their doctrine even further than Bush dared.
It's come to this - you are guilty if anyone in authority says you're guilty, not because you've had a day in court, not because you have a chance to confront your accusers, not because you dare to think that you are innocent until proven guilty. Proof is no longer the standard. Assertion by authority is all that is now needed to put you away forever.
This so-called “war on terror” has thus revealed to the world its true character and logic: a malignant tumor on the body of society that will kill the patient. “In order to save freedom, we had to annihilate freedom.” Anyone who recognizes the magnitude of this moment dares not remain silent. Scoundrels will bray in triumph, the uninformed, apathetic and cowardly will cower, and the clear-seeing will take up the mantle of responsibility for the sake of humanity and stand up and be counted.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)