I just saw Ted Howard re-tweet John Siracusa’s link to the full text of a boilerplate response being sent out by Scott Brown about the NDAA indefinite detention of Americans provision. The part that stood out to me the most was this one:
I understand your concerns regarding Sections 1031 and 1032 of the FY 2012 NDAA. As we continue to combat terrorism around the world and fight extremists on the battlefields in Afghanistan, it is important to have a judicial system in place to bring these suspects to justice. However, allowing detainees suspected of supporting terrorist activities to be tried in civilian courts in the United States jeopardizes the security of the city in which the trials would be held and would award detainees the same rights as U.S. citizens, hindering the government’s ability to bring these enemy combatants to justice. To mitigate these concerns, the Guantanamo Military Commission was created to give fair and meaningful trials to unlawful enemy combatants housed at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
What is he saying in plain language? He’s saying, “The bill of rights inhibits justice.” Obviously, this is ridiculous. The rights we have been “guaranteed” (as much as words on paper can guarantee anything) by the constitution are there specifically to ensure that justice is brought about. The withdrawal of those rights guarantees only that raw power will prevail. It has nothing to do with justice.
But, remember what we’re talking about here. The whole controversy is about detaining Americans, captured on American soil. So, when Scott Brown says that trying these folks in court would “award detainees the same rights as U.S. citizens,” he is evidently saying that once you are detained, you are no longer a citizen. This is actually fairly consistent with the trajectory of criminal justice as a whole over time. Convicted felons can’t own guns or vote. They are treated like non-citizens. Now, Scott Brown just takes the next logical step and includes suspects in the non-citizen category also. Why wait for a conviction to strip citizenship when you can go ahead and do it just for being detained?
What a load of crap.