Letters to the Editor

A basic right

January 9, 2012


To the editor:

Recently, President Obama reauthorized the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012. Sections 1021 and 1022 of this bill allow for the indefinite detention of people the government suspects are involved in terrorism. This includes U.S. citizens detained on American soil.

Obama has stated that he has “serious reservations” about these provisions. I am glad that he feels good intentions are enough. However, someone who genuinely valued freedom would not compromise on such a basic tenet of liberty. They would not hesitate to choose principle over political expediency. It is becoming virtually impossible to distinguish our current president from his predecessor.


John Hamm 5 years ago

As much as I think Obama is a not so good President one also has to ask, "What the heck are our congressmen thinking?"

budman 5 years ago

What a sham our president has turned out to be. We might as well bring back good old D'ya.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Would it have been better if our returning soldiers had no pay or services to return to?

Lisa Medsker 5 years ago

I don't understand how passing this law protects soldiers pay, or has any effect at all on my VA benefits. This seems to be exactly the type of government tactic we were supposedly deployed to prevent or overturn.

Chris Golledge 5 years ago

Not clear exactly, but the annual NDAA provides funding to the military. This year's act contains a provision about “military custody of foreign al Qaida terrorists.” that has been argued to infringe on our civil liberties.

Odd that Obama is getting blamed for signing a bill that a Republican-controlled congress wrote and approved.

Another side to the story is here, not vouching one way or the other, but is is written by a representative of congress.


Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

Now I understand.

R = Righteousness D = Demonic

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Is this the change you sheep believed in?

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Just eat your grass and follow along with the flock. There are wolves out there, you know.

voevoda 5 years ago

Ron Paul won't defend women's liberties; he's on record saying that pregnant women have no rights; the fetus has all the rights and the woman has only obligations. He doesn't think abortion should be allowed even in case of rape (women don't get pregnant as a result of rape, he says) or to preserve the woman's health ("pregnancy is natural," he says, and women feel "delightful").
Ron Paul won't defend the liberties of African-Americans; he's on record saying that business owners have a right discriminate against them.
Let Ron Paul and his supporters defend the rights of women and blacks as vigorously as they defend their own (white male?) rights, and then they'll have something valid to say to criticize Obama.

mloburgio 5 years ago

Oh boy bring back bush?

• Misleading the nation into war • Authorizing and encouraging the use of torture • Failing in almost every way to defend the homeland and our borders • Undermining habeas corpus and other traditional rights • Illegal NSA wiretapping, mail opening, and other assaults on the Bill of Rights • The catastrophic federal failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina http://theworstpresidentever.blogspot.com/

mloburgio 5 years ago

The Cost Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Richest 5 Percent: $11.6 Million Per Hour | The National Priorities Project, in partnership with Citizens for Tax Justice, has released a new site tracking the ever-growing cost of the Bush tax cuts. They found that the tax cuts for only the richest 5 percent of Americans “cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour of every day.”

Peacemaker452 5 years ago

Tax cuts “cost” nothing. Not even our wholly dysfunctional tax code allows you to list less revenue as an expense. (If I am wrong on that please reference the appropriate section of the code; I could use the deduction this year)

If anything, it would have to be termed “lost tax opportunity”.

It is the failure of the government to curb spending that is “costing” us so much.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

You only use "lib" two times in this post. This is an extremely weak performance. You really need to up your "lib" count to maximize the effectiveness of your rants.

Chris Golledge 5 years ago

How do you know Obama was behind that part?

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

Maybe it's not Bush or Obama at all. Maybe it's the office itself. Maybe it's something being told to them by the military or intelligence agencies. Maybe it's the responsibility of sending young Americans off to war. Maybe it's the water in the Oval Office that turns these guys into clones.

verity 5 years ago

Damn, I actually agree with you.

jafs 5 years ago

This is a bad thing, and would be regardless of who's in power.

Suspicion should not be enough for the government to detain people - if they have reasonable cause to arrest somebody, let them do it, and then prove them guilty in a court of law. Then, and only, then, should they be able to impose punishment.

First, they should have probable cause to obtain warrants and evidence, of course.

I think there's an amendment somewhere stating that Americans are not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process, isn't there?

I've often wondered how the state can justify putting people in jail until they go to trial - why doesn't this provision apply there as well? People are innocent until proven guilty in our system - doesn't putting them in jail before they're found guilty violate "due process"?

verity 5 years ago

You do make an interesting point, Jafs. But aren't many people free until their trial? Perhaps it's based on how much of a danger to society they might be or whether they might run.

Can we get an answer from one of our legal authorities?

verity 5 years ago

I probably didn't make it clear that I'm talking about Jafs last paragraph---"I've often wondered how the state can justify putting people in jail until they go to trial."

ProfessorSeamus 5 years ago

"Due process" does not mean the trial has to occur. A magistrate has to review the facts and make a determination on bail, terms of release, etc. In Kansas this would be a criminal first appearance for a misdemeanor or a preliminary hearing for a felony. Also the Constitution guarantees speedy trial to prevent the pre-trial detention from lasting indefinitely.

jafs 5 years ago


So "speedy" simply means not lasting indefinitely?

That's not what I take that term to mean - if somebody spends 6 months in jail waiting for their trial I wouldn't call that speedy.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

I'm not certain about this, but it's generally true that a speedy trial is guaranteed and "defined" in the various states. However, defendants frequently waive their rights to a speedy trial because in theory, it helps defendants to let the process drag out as long as possible. Witnesses forget, move, whatever. The defense has more time to gather evidence that may raise reasonable doubt. Generally, a speedy trial benefits the government with it's greater resources.

geekin_topekan 5 years ago

Dont tell Kobach about this. He has already decided to make one essential liberty into an invitation-only affair.

BusseS 5 years ago

Both Kansas Senators voted yes for the this bill. Quick: Can you name them off the top of your head?

Did you tell them that you oppose the bill? Did you do ANYTHING about it?

Oldsoul 5 years ago

How does this law not conflict with the 14th amendment of the constitution?

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

Does a prohibition against yelling "fire" in crowded theater violate the 1st. Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech? Or is it a reasonable restriction, something the courts have ruled is permissible? How about we let the judicial branch have it's say.

verity 5 years ago

". . . this bill [would] allow for the indefinite detention of people the government suspects are involved in terrorism. This includes U.S. citizens detained on American soil."

In my opinion the judicial branch has too often allowed the executive branch to do things that are unconstitutional. Again in my opinion, these laws are a flagrant violation of the constitution and a danger to all of us. This allows them to come for you any time and you would have no recourse. Anybody being detained indefinitely without trial is just wrong and it is the kind of power that will be abused.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

I have the same opinion as you. (twice in a single day, scary. :-)). But before we get all up in arms, I'd like to hear from the courts.

verity 5 years ago

OK, I misunderstood your nuance, but if I weren't so sure that I was right I would have to rethink my opinion. :-)

deec 5 years ago

If that one gets shot down, there's also HR 3166 and S. 1698 as a backup.

George Lippencott 5 years ago

mloburgio (anonymous) says… The Cost Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Richest 5 Percent: $11.6 Million Per Hour "

Moderate Notes: So why did Mrs P not raise these taxes when she had the chance? Could it be that there is no difference between her party and the other party when it comes to rich benefactors.

beatrice 5 years ago

Get Ghadafi out of power without the loss of a single American life and without involving America in a civil war! But hey, why bother looking at the specifics of a situation when you have out of context sound bites by someone who wasn't actually the President.

meggers 5 years ago

For the record, the Obama administration did not draft the language regarding unlimited detention, and Obama issued a signing statement with the final legislation. The signing statement, in part, says this:

“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. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

So, how did political mastermind Harry Reid let that get through the Democrat-majority Senate?

budman 5 years ago

Well he still signed it didn't he.

What a world class politician, signing largely unpopular into law and then writing some non-binding statement to cover himself.

I guess we'll need more change come 2012

meggers 5 years ago

And then there are the trolls who just show up to make poorly worded ad hominem attacks.

beatrice 5 years ago

Well, at least you aren't taking part in that finger pointing you accuse others of doing.

Oh, wait ...

beatrice 5 years ago

This is a disappointment and shouldn't have happened. Obama shouldn't have signed it.

Question is, would a Republican President have refused to sign the bill?

jafs 5 years ago

Of course not.

And Republicans wouldn't have criticized him for it, either - they'd probably have applauded it.

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