Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jackbooted Legions Coming to Arrest Us All??

Probably not.  Reader Larry E. points me to a current flap amongst conservatives (check out the update as well).  Larry hadn't read the bill, so wasn't sure just how bad this really was – but certainly didn't like the sound of it.

I found the text of the bill, and below is the language in question (Section 1031 of Senate Bill 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012).  My reading of this: it authorizes the President to use military force to go after the 9/11 terrorists, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or others associated with them.  Assuming that the last part of that is faithfully followed, I don't have any problem with this.  If a member of the Taliban happens to be an American citizen, I still want the Marines to put a bullet in his heart.  I believe our military is far better equipped to deal with many terrorist attack scenarios than our police forces are.

If I'm interpreting the hyperbolic fire-breathing of those wailing about this correctly, they're afraid that just about anybody could be accused of collaboration with al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and would then become subject to indefinite military detention (or even direct military action).  I understand this fear, but I don't think this bill significantly expands the probability of such a thing.  Both Bush and Obama have unilaterally asserted all sorts of Presidential powers that reasonable men believe were not theirs to grab.  For example, it's not at all clear that Obama actually had the authority to order U.S. troops to fight in Libya.  There has been precious little resistance to any of these power grabs.  Even in the absence of this bill, if Obama decided to incarcerate (let's say) some citizens of Detroit accused of being al-Qaeda funding sources in Guantanamo, do you really thing the absence of clear authority would stop him?  I do not, nor do I think it would have stopped Bush.

So I think this is much overblown...


    (a) In General- Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
    (b) Covered Persons- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
      (1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
      (2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
    (c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
      (1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
      (2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
      (3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
      (4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person's country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
    (d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
    (e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress- The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be `covered persons' for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

Evaporated Man...

William Gensert has an interesting piece up on the American Thinker, full of links for citations and additional reading.  A tip 'o the hat to reader Simi L.  An excerpt:
Obama believes himself a good man. Yet, with no depth or breadth, he is victim to the ideology he has been steeped in his entire life, a captive of his conviction that he is on the side of what is right and just. The benevolent hand of Barack Obama has wrought more havoc upon the freedom of our nation than any enemy ever could, for while evil can wreak untold damage, it takes the truly self-righteous to destroy a nation.

Edmund Burke said that "all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is that good men to do nothing." Yet it is also true that the greatest evil has, just as often as not, been perpetrated by good men seeking to do something.

War Memorial...

Via my mom:
After more than 40 years, the Vietnam Veterans of the United States of America have raised a phenomenal amount of money to memorialize another one of Hollywood ’s loyal American citizens, who went out of her way to aid and abet the enemy and congratulate them on their treatment of U.S. POW's.

Be sure to stop in and pay your “respects!”

Weird Weather...

Just before I went out to walk the dogs this morning, the heavens opened up and it poured – but only for a few minutes.  We got about 1 mm (4 hundredths of an inch) of rain.  The ground is wet, and all the brush was freshly dampened.  As I write this, it's raining again.

That part is only a little odd.  Here's the really weird part: we had a low pressure system move through last night that has our current pressure down to quite a low level.  Usually that means “big storm” is coming.  The temperatures have dropped as well (see instrument graphs at right, click to enlarge).  The forecast calls for Santa Ana-like wind conditions, but with the winds coming from the west instead of the east.  Here's an explanation of this odd phenomenon (called the “Inside Slider”).  We're located in the southern part of a strange local eddy.  Should be an interesting weather day or two!