As often happens when tyrants get a taste for blood, American leadership wants to codify its recent behavior against American citizens. They want to be able point to a document and explain that they are simply following the law, not acting out their dominance fantasies. While a few new outlets (very few actually, I hardly see coverage of this in most corporate media outlets) are freaking out, it needs to be explained that even if the National Defense Authorization Act passes and becomes the law of the land – it wont change the status quo of life in modern America. It simply codifies what has been happening for years. It makes the treatment of José Padilla, Bradley Manning, and Anwar al-Awlaki the law.
The target, a nebulous and mysterious entity known as “terrorists,” will face the full power of American military dehumanization, legally now. For now, that predominately follows a historically racist archetype of young Arab men (who have shown remarkably little shame in living on top of our oil) who may have gotten tired of seeing their families and peers blown apart. But how long will that stand? If the Occupy Movement continues to gain power over the battle of ideas, how long do you think it will take for a staged violent act to allow our leaders to add Occupiers to that definition? What about Anonymous? Whistle-blowers? A “terrorist” is anyone who threatens power and is potentially any human being, depending on context.
This falls into a larger argument about laws as dictated by the state. Tea-Partiers, and some Occupiers, have rallied for returning to the basics of the constitution; but what is “constitutional”? Anything the state says it is. Americans certainly don’t get to decide that. We are told to send psychopath millionaires to Washington to decide those things. Even if something is “unconstitutional,” that has never stopped the state from performing any action it wants to; afterward making said actions part of the law. As long as the law is in the hands of the bourgeoisie and not the masses, “law” is just as nebulous as “terrorist”. It is something forced upon us, determined by interests much larger than you or I. To return to the “basics” means nothing.
Even though Barack Obama has threatened to veto the provisions of the NDAA that pertain to U.S. citizens, don’t count on it. Mr. Obama has gotten a taste for American blood, and we have already seen how good his promises are when it comes to America’s treatment of “terrorists.” Military tribunals, Guantanamo prison, torture, and extraordinary rendition all continue despite Mr. Obama’s promises to end them. Besides, even if he does veto these provisions, it is still happening.
Maybe we can all run away to Kepler 22-b?