NDAA Bill: Obama Says Goodbye to Freedom and Democracy

Under the guise of what seems to be this all-encompassing “war on terror” the United States has significantly curtailed justice and freedom as it continues to pursue domestic terrorism through pre-emptive prosecution. And as Obama pushes to pass the NDAA, it’s possible that we might see considerable restraints to both democracy and freedom in America in coming years.

Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA, which was first declared invalid and is currently being appealed, allows the military to detain anyone – U.S. citizens included – who “substantially support” terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces.” In other words, indistinct from all of the Obama administration’s other national security and foreign policy legislation, this section of the NDAA is riddled with abstract and ambiguous terms making it easy to detain just about anyone.

The NDAA, however, wouldn’t do much other than legalize what the government already has been doing since the Bush administration, perhaps finding it’s true origins in Vice President Dick Cheney’s “1 Percent Doctrine,” which held that if there was even an 1% chance that a person could be engaging in terrorism in the future, the government had to pre-emptively convict the person of a crime right away. Most of whom have been bearing the brunt of this largely un-American and simply inane doctrine have been immigrant-Muslim families or children of immigrants who, in the midst of the height of Islamophobia,  have found themselves incarcerated for long sentences simply because of the religion they practice or the political beliefs they could one day hold.

A prime example of this is Tareq Abufayyad, a Palestinian man and a recent college graduate who had intentions of joining his family in the U.S., all of whom were naturalized citizens of America. But rather than reuniting with his family. Abufayyad found himself detained at San Francisco International Airport, deemed inadmissible simply because he had the potential to become a Hamas-operative.

The reasoning behind such suspicions? He was a well-educated man from Gaza, Hamas’ strong-hold, and could likely be a future recruit because he was “attractive to Hamas.”

In other words, because he gained an education, he couldn’t come to the United States – far away from Hamas’ operatives – because he would be a good candidate to join Hamas.

This isn’t just a one-time thing either; numerous people have faced jail-time, which often entails abuse, or have been deported for reasons such as contributing to charities in the Middle East or potentially holding a certain political belief.

Civil rights lawyer Michael Deutch believes that, with the passing of the NDAA, this not only has the potential of threatening innocent Muslims across America, but just about everyone else as well.

"The law could theoretically be used against labor strikes, acts of civil disobedience, demonstrations, and so on,” Deutch says.

In other words, should section 1021 be signed into law, we can kiss the America we once knew –where virtues such as justice, freedom and democracy were held true and firm – goodbye. 

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Areej Elahi-Siddiqui

A Pakistani-American undergraduate student at the Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She enjoys watching inordinate amounts of television, reading far too many books and drinking lots and lots of coffee.

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