Flashback: There’s No Such Thing as an “Indefinite Detention Bill”

Update: I cant believe this one has lasted so long. Thankfully, they've stopped calling it the "Indefinite detention bill," but the same people still swear up and down that the NDAA allows for indefinite detention, which is patently false. It's been well over a year; you'd think they'd have read the section by now. Yet, just in the past week, I've been told about the NDAA many times, and how it will lead to Obama rounding up everyone and throwing them all in jail, or something equally dire. That's ridiculous. 

I wrote this in December 2011, and I checked everything, and it's still valid now. There are minor language changes, but the substance and the underlying facts are unchanged. 


One of the most galling aspects of the professional left is their penchant for lying to make a point they think you'll buy. As a progressive, there is no need to lie to those who read your stuff. As this blog notes time and time again, the truth has a liberal bias; Fox News needs to lie; we do not.

Case in point; the hysteria over what many pro and emo lefties refer to as the “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Even people I often admire are buying into the hysteria, and it’s become depressing.

First thing you should know is, there is NO SUCH THING as an “Indefinite Detention Bill.” The actual bill Obama first threatened to veto and has now agreed to sign is called the “National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.” The part about the “indefinite detention” is actually one small portion of a very large bill. 

Yet, who the hell do these "liberals" go after? Not those who put that crap into the bill in the first place, of course. No, they go after President Obama, who has command of the military (which includes my son, who’s working hard trying to rebuild Afghanistan, by the way) and have little choice but to put up with such amendments. How did so many progressive really learn NOTHING from the 2010 elections?

Obama doesn't have a line-item veto, so he can’t veto the “Indefinite Detention Bill” without vetoing the entire NDAA. Now, you may think that would be a good thing, but would it? It’s not just about the troops. What about all of those civilians who might lose their jobs for at least a month or two, while Obama and Congress, including teabaggers, who have declared that defeating Obama is their main goal, worked out a new NDAA without that little amendment, assuming they could do so? What do you think canceling all those defense contracts for a month or two would do to the unemployment rate? What if it lasted six months? What would happen to those small towns that depend on the military bases and contractors to support their small businesses? Do you imagine the GOP might be a bit energized after the unemployment rate suddenly rises to 10% and it's all blamed on the Obama veto?

Those of you who claim “principle” when you discuss this need to stop. Many pros and emos claim Obama’s showing a “lack of principle” by signing this “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Forget the fact that you lack principle if you're lying to the public about a bill that doesn't exist. You’re actually advocating for an action that could put millions of people out of work for a few months, and forcing our troops to lose their meager pay for a few months for… what, exactly? What are your “principles” when you advocate for that, in order to kill an amendment that will probably ultimately have zero effect on anyone, and might even die in the courts?

I don’t like this amendment any more than you do. But you know what? If he vetoes this bill to kill that amendment, and then causes the Republicans to win in 2012, they’re just going to pass the same bill, and allow President Gingrich/Romney/Perry to detain people at will, anyway, right?

See, this is how politics works, pro and emo lefties; elections have consequences. When our side trashed Obama and the Democrats mercilessly in 2009-10, we helped right wing Republicans win. Hell; after the 2010 election, pro and emo "progressives" were CROWING about having defeated “Blue Dog” Democrats, thus giving teabaggers most of those seats, giving the Speaker’s chair to a Boner, and handing committee chairs to right wingers, who replaced the progressives that had been chairing those committees. Look, folks; when you help right wingers get elected, you don’t get to act shocked and sadden when they do exactly what they promised to do.

It’s not Obama’s fault he doesn’t have a line-item veto. The only way to veto this thing is to kill the entire bill. With Congress recessing today for about a month, that means the entire DOD and its contractors could go unfunded until late January or early February, if a deal could be worked out. That means a lot of contractors would have to fold up shop in the meantime. It could put some out of business altogether, but it could also mean millions out of work for at least a month or two. What about military people and contractors who are facing foreclosure; what would this do to them? It’s possible Congress might pass an emergency appropriation to cover this problem, but given the influence of the teabaggers, who in their right mind would count on something like that? In one year, they’ve damn near pushed through four government shutdowns.

If you think you're adhering to "principle" by demanding Obama veto this thing, I'm afraid you don't understand the concept of "principle" very well. Each individual "principle" doesn't work in a vacuum; they all work together. This reminds me of those idiots who wanted to kill the entire health care bill because it didn't include a "public option." To deny 30 million people health insurance, and force those with insurance to continue to endure the restrictions on coverage, just because you didn't get what you wanted is not "principled." It's the opposite. 

The “Indefinite Detention Bill” will only potentially have a negative effect if a Republican wins in 2012, in any case. Obama probably won't use it, except maybe to trigger a court challenge, which this amendment will probably fail, anyway. The Hamdan case alone would seem to indicate the president cannot have such power over US citizens, at least.

Here’s the language in section 1021 that has the pro lefties up in arms. It’s in the Conference Report. Follow along, please. Oddly (?), most pro left cite (1), but leave out (2)-(4). I know, that just seems so odd, doesn’t it?

(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.

Yes, I do admit section c) looks troubling, especially if you look at it all by itself. As long as we have Obama (or Biden) in office, we have time to get rid of it, especially if we give them a Democratic Congress. But note that the pro lefties also leave out sections b) d) and e). When you read them you’ll know why.

(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.


(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) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.


Yes, you read that right. The so-called  – the “Indefinite Detention Bill” that some lefties are trying to convince you will give the president the power to round us all up and detain us forever without a trial, not only doesn’t exist on its own, but the language is somewhat limiting, and specifically excludes US citizens or people who are in the United States legally. Section b) 2) does bother me, but I don’t think it’ll survive a court challenge because it’s too broad. What the hell is a “belligerent act,” for example? I once called a US Senator an asshole to his face; that was kind of belligerent. 

I will note, for the record, that the provision does fly in the face of the 14th Amendment, and I don't like it. But I don't see anything in it that isn't reversible, and certainly nothing that's worth putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work for, just as we're recovering from the worst recession in 80 years. 

AND I BLAME CONGRESS FOR THIS, NOT OBAMA. They put it there, not him. In fact, if Democrats were still in charge, this entire discussion probably wouldn't be happening. Blaming this on Obama is kind of like blaming the company who put the olives in the jar because you didn't chew your olive responsibly. Just saying. 

In order to kill the above provisions, Obama has to kill the entire bill. That would be a politically stupid thing to do, and anyone with any common sense would understand that. The best way to handle this is to keep this provision in mind, give Obama a second term, and give him a Congress that will pass a repeal that he can sign. There you go; problem solved.

I’ll end this with a short critique of our “friend” Glenn Greenwald’s Salon post entitled “Three myths about the detention bill.” In it, he lies like a rug. Here are the most blatant lies:

Lie #1. There is no such thing as an “Indefinite Detention Bill”. To imply there is means you’re also implying that Obama can veto such a thing without killing the entire NDAA. He can't.

Lie #2. Obama did not announce his intention to sign the “Indefinite Detention Bill” and for Greenwald to claim it’s “embedded” in the 2012 NDAA is an obfuscation, if not an outright falsehood, because it implies a possibility for him to veto just that “bill.”

Lie #3. “Until the end of the hostilities” does not necessarily mean “indefinite detention.” It’s entirely possible, even likely, that Obama will declare an end to al Qaeda within the next year, and he has already all but declared an end to hostilities against the Taliban. In fact, if we oversee an election of Democrats in 2012, and they declare both “wars” at an end, guess what happens? 

(Note; that does not mean I want this part of the bill to survive. I want to see it repealed, which will happen if assholes like Greenwald start going after the perpetrators of this nonsense, and stop attacking Obama and Democrats incessantly. I’m just saying, there are other ways around it, and to declare such a thing as essentially “true” is a lie.)

Lie #4. As you can see when you read both d) and e) in section 1021 above, the “bill” explicitly does NOT expand the scope of the AUMF.

Lie #5. The “bill” DOES explicitly exempt US citizens from its provisions. Strangely, Greenwald cites Section 1022 as proving his point. Here’s the language:


(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

Strangely, Greenwald highlights certain sections of this in his article, and then inexplicably says the following (bold in original):

The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the“requirement” of military detention. For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optionalThis section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the requirement of military detention.

Except for one problem; Section 1021, which explicitly forbids detention of US citizens and resident aliens. He’s counting on us all reading each separate section as if it operates on its own, which is not the case.

Look, folks, I don’t like this section of the bill much more than Greenwald does. On its face, it’s odious, especially if Obama is replaced by anyone in the current Republican field. The problem is, it's the misrepresentation by professional lefties like Glenn Greenwald that actually helps make the possibility of a Republican president and a Republican Senate more likely, not less. If you really want crap like this amendment repealed, you’ll need a Democratic House and Senate and a Democratic president. You’ll also need a Supreme Court appointed and approved by Democrats, because an entire court full of Scalia/Thomas/Alito clones will happily give a Republican president this power.

The only thing I ask of any actual progressive is that they tell the truth, and place blame where it belongs.

Obama didn’t place this odious amendment into the bill; Republicans did. Even if they didn't place the exact language into the bill, they created the impetus for including crap like this in an irrelevant bill in the first place. Go after them!

Stop lying, and go after those who are actually responsible. For a change. 

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  1. I have nothing more to say about this than the fact that law confuses you. “The requirement does not extend” may as well say “but the option exists.” It is shady wording. It does not explicitly say “Hey, let’s detain Americans. We can, we will, and we have the right to.” That would be unconstitutional. That could be struck down by the Supreme Court, almost unanimously. But the shady language is what bothers many people about this bill. Heck, even Obama had serious reservations on those sections. Which means, unless you’re saying Obama is a liar, that there is something to be troubled about. Is a signing statement line “the indefinite detention of American citizens is prohibited” too much to ask for?
    If you’re emotionally attached to defending this article, be my guest. If you wrote this out of logic, as someone that HAS read the full text of the bill, I can point you to several places that may show you different. Including the Library of Congress’s THOMAS system. And a report of two four-star generals that condemn the bill, and show that a veto would not cut spending to the military.
    There are shreds of truth in this article. But there needs to be more.

  2. I think we can boil down this and many other matters to the following: Many pro- and emo-lefties object that President Obama is neither a benevolent dictator nor a veto-happy extortionist. They want the former, but retreat to demanding the latter. The idea of popular rule eludes them.

  3. It was not a ‘complaint’, but an explanation of how his article could be more effective, because it tells the truth, and people need to listen, but they won’t listen to someone who calls them hysterial emo liars. This is why I felt the need to post, to offer advice on how spread the message, not through some personal offense that he wasn’t ‘nice’, and that should have been clear when my post said that I read the whole article despite my reservations.
    Thank you for the link.

  4. If you’re looking for an actual analysis of what the NDAA sections say, go here: http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/12/ndaa-faq-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/
    Now, you can complain about the tone, but let me explain something for you. Glenn lies and distorts. Constantly, unremittingly, and blatantly. It’s almost a cottage industry these days among various progressive blogs to go through his latest screeds and point that out. His reaction is always the same, he (and his minions) attack by calling the person pointing it out a liar, corrupt, a lackey, etc. After a few times through the mill, anyone who has called him out on it is not going to be “nice” anymore.



  7. Well, I came here via Greenwald’s article on Salon – it is linked to on one of the comments and I have to say it took a lot of willpower and generousity to slog through your article because I was continuously annoyed at your emphasis on keeping Obama in office and ripping on Republicans. But I thank you for clarifying and making me a little more comfortable with the National Defense Authorization Act. I feel the need to tell you that you can tell the truth just as easily without constantly being condescending and insulting, especially if you want to get through to more people like me. Right off the bat, I see three entire political groups that your blog would immediately turn away from reading this because of your language, and would not effectively communicate with, and that’s only helping the lies about this bill linger. The biggest mistake you’re making is telling people that they’re being hysterical if they believe the myths about this bill. I’ve been using these myths about this bill for a week, and I wasn’t ‘hysterical’, I was sincerely worried. Telling people how to feel is not the way to open up receptive communication with them. My apologies if all of this is irrelevant, but that’s what I have to say about your article. Again, thank you, very informative.

  8. Hi, Chris,
    First of all, I’m not “inexplicably” rude to anyone. The article is CLEARLY NOT an analysis of the NDAA. Therefore, while you and the others claim superior reading skills, you demonstrate something different. I readily admit to not suffering fools, and I also admit that saying the same things over and over again is just tiresome. If I seem rude, perhaps it’s because I have answered this shit OVER AND OVER again, both ion this forum and others, and all of you who CLAIM to have read all of these “rude and antagonistic” responses from me, then respond with the same horseshit I have already refuted previously. Gee, why would THAT make someone cranky?
    The post is NOT an analysis of the NDAA. The fact that you have to assert that it is should serve as a clue. I don’t even disagree with many of the professional left on their conclusions. If you had actually READ my responses, with the superior reading comprehension skills you claim, you would know that the bill that Greenwald and the others have commented on is NOT EVEN THE BILL THAT OBAMA AGREED TO SIGN. I even noted that, in passing, in the article that you supposedly read so carefully. it’s why I offered a link to the Conference Report; because anyone looking at the latest version of the bill would not find what Greenwald and others were quoting.
    Yes, that’s right. The bill has been changed significantly since the conference report. In fact, one thing I blew off in this article was that by the time the Greenwald article had been published, not only had the section numbers been changed and about 40 pages added to the bill, but the sections to which he referred had been changed significantly. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and actually made my case using the same version of the bill that he was lying about. That said, are you even aware that the bill he had threatened to veto earlier was NOT the same bill as he promised to sign later? I’m going to guess not.
    If I was going to analyze the NDAA, why the HELL would I have chosen an old version of the bill?
    The purpose of this column was to point out that the “professional left” lies and the “emo lefties” repeat it, and that “professional lefties” also inflate their opinions into “facts.” It was NOT to debate the merits of NDAA, as anyone who actually reads the post can tell.
    I’ll ask the same question of you that I have asked others. Of course, you supposedly read all of my “rude” comments, so you must have seen this already, but I’ll repeat it.
    There is a provision in the bill that offers greater protection to whistleblowers who tell on the DOD. Now, if Fox News supported the NDAA, referred to it as the “Whistleblower Protection Bill” and said liberals were against greater whistleblower protections, would you object? You should, because it’s a lie.
    It’s the same lie the professional left was telling all through this debate.
    And the next time you try and tell us what a brilliant reader you are, and you disingenuously claim to not know what “professional left” and “emo left” mean, I suggest you Google them. they’re both relatively common terms that have been used widely for a while. If you know what the terms “professional” and “emo” refer to, then you know what they mean when you add the word “left” to them.
    I’m not rude with people who disagree with me. I do get a bit testy when people put words in my mouth or offer up straw men, and then use them to “prove me wrong.” And I get even testier when someone who claims to have read all of the comments and my responses then regirgitates the same goddamn “arguments” he supposedly read, forcing me to regurgitate the same responses.
    If I was REALLY rude, I’d just delete your comment. Yet, here I am, repeating myself YET AGAIN. Think this will be the last time. It’s simply tiresome.
    Again, the bill that Obama is signing is significantly different than the one you read about. When he threatened the veto, they made significant changes. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c112:6:./temp/~c112dqGxaV:e578148:

  9. Hi, Milt…
    I came to this post via a link on Facebook, so this is my first visit to your site. Accordingly, I don’t know who exactly you define as the “professional” (much less “emo”) left, nor why you seem to have such a vendetta against them. I’m perfectly willing to accept that you personally are a dedicated progressive, and it’s obvious that you have strong feelings about the best political (and rhetorical) strategy to pursue in pursuit of those goals.
    On the other hand, you are inexplicably rude and antagonistic toward posters who attempt to debate reasonable points of disagreement with you, and I don’t understand why. At risk of eliciting the same response, I’m going to take a crack at it myself. (And let me stipulate up front that my reading comprehension skills are just fine.)
    With respect: no matter how often you insist that this blog entry “isn’t about” the NDAA, it plainly is. It may also be about “supposed liberals” who “go after president Obama,” but the overall emphasis of the piece makes that seem secondary. After all, you don’t really offer any examples of “supposed liberals” being unfair toward Obama; your examples are all about discussions of the NDAA. The only extent to which Obama was on the hook was the extent to which people wanted him to follow through on his promise to veto the bill.
    For what it’s worth, I agree that such a veto would have been moot. The final (amended) bill passed the House 283-136, and the Senate 86-13, more’s the pity, so it’s more than likely that any veto would have been overturned by supermajority. Still, it could have been an important symbolic statement. (And either way it wouldn’t have resulted in “millions out of work” among the military and its contracts; as other have pointed out, emergency spending powers have been used before under such circumstances and could be again.)
    But on the substance, on whether this was a bill that *deserved* to be vetoed? Sorry, but on that count you stretch too far. I’m not going to accuse you of being a “liar” or an “asshole”; I’m simply going to say that you’re wrong.
    With respect, once again, Gleen Greenwald’s abilities at statutory interpretation are better than yours. As are those of analysts at the ACLU. As, for that matter, are mine. You simply misread the bill. That may not be deliberate on your part; it was written to be obfuscatory; but you do it nevertheless. Taken together, the two sections at the heart of this controversy allow indefinite military detention (and/or rendition to any other country) of ANY person picked up anywhere on earth who the U.S. government ACCUSES of having belonged to or supported any organization that the U.S. government deems an enemy of itself or its allies, without the U.S. government having to present ANY evidence in court.
    Contrary to your interpretation, *nothing* here “explicitly forbids” this treatment being applied to U.S. citizens. The caveat in section 1021(e) respecting existing law regarding US citizens and legal residents captured in the U.S. is purposefully vague, but at present the controlling law there would be Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), which states that indefinite detention is fine even for citizens, with the sole caveat that they cannot be prevented from bringing a habeas corpus challenge. The carve-out in section 1022(b) parses pretty much exactly as Greenwald and others have described: for citizens and legal residents, it retains discretion for the president to decide which option to apply, rather than *requiring* military detention by default, as it does for others.
    It also seems clear that you misunderstand the word “indefinite.” There is no expiration date on the AUMF, nor have any defining criteria ever been applied to the “war on terror” that could externally trigger its end. IOW, the AUMF (and thus the provisions of this bill, and thus any detentions under it) remain in effect as long as the president and Congress want them to. They may well remain in effect long after you, I, and all current detainees have passed from this earth. That’s as indefinite as indefinite gets.
    Your attempts to minimize the impact of this are, at best, speculative. You write “Obama probably won’t use it” and “I don’t think it will survive a court challenge” and “It’s entirely possible, even likely, that Obama will declare an end to al Qaeda within the next year, and he has already all but declared an end to hostilities against the Taliban.” But you proffer no evidence to support any of these hopes or expectations — even the last of them, which is to say the least inconsistent with the expectations of the vast majority of people watching Washington. I would be delighted to see Obama “declare victory” and render the AUMF a nullity, but I would also be astonished. Especially in an election year.
    In the end, if Congress is primarily to blame for this egregiously unconstitutional bit of law, still it’s also true that Obama has been a willing collaborator. No one has clean hands here. Your attempts to argue otherwise smack of special pleading, and your efforts to demonize those who disagree with you are simply unseemly.
    (Side note, BTW: signing in to your site using OpenID apparently doesn’t work. I had to resort to a Google ID instead.)

  10. You obviously can’t tell the difference between “opinion” and fact.
    1. No matter how much you bleat and cry, there IS NO SUCH THING AS AN “INDEFINITE DETENTION BILL.” That is a fact, not opinion. And just for the record, I wasn’t talking about Greenwald, specifically when I mentioned it. He was part of a gaggle of pro-lefties who decided to call it that.
    If a bystander wanted to see what the hubbub was about, they would find out that there WAS no such bill. Fact is verifiable, and because liberals have facts on our side, everything we say should be verifiable to the average person. They should be able to read something of ours, and go verify its veracity and say, “You know, he’s right!” Then, everything else we say will have more credibility. Do you even understand how much the credibility of the progressive cause takes a hit when we act like Fox News?
    2. I never said he didn’t announce his intention to sign the NDAA. But the one he said he would sign was NOT the same as the one he threatened to veto. Note: the FACT is, I wasn’t talking about the NDAA in this article. I was talking about the lack of credibility in some of the arguments about it. I didn’t even NOTE that the version of the NDAA that Greenwald was referencing wasn’t even current as of Friday, when his Salon piece appeared. That was sloppy journalism, not a lie.
    3. Bills are not “embedded” in other bills. That is a FACT. If the president had a line-item veto power (and I wish he did), Greenwald would have a point. The fact of the matter is, Greenwald and other pro lefties were using that line of “reasoning” because they knew there was no such thing as an “indefinite detention bill.” That’s right; they made that false-on-its-face statement in order to make the “indefinite detention bill” falsehood seem credible.
    4. It is not a fact that “end of the hostilities” indicates “indefinite detention.” In fact, on a purely factual basis, that phrase means the OPPOSITE of “indefinite detention,” because it actually allows for a president and Congress to fashion an end to the “hostilities.” Because he is a trained lawyer, I know FOR A FACT that Greenwald knows the statement isn’t true. But it sounds good, and it gets the progressive “troops” all happy, so he says it, and you eat it up.
    5. The language in the version of the bill that Greenwald himself chose to cite very specifically EXEMPTS US citizens from “indefinite detention.” I put the exact language in the article. In fact, Greenwald specifically LEFT OUT the language he didn’t want, and even highlighted a smaller portion of the language he chose to cite, to keep your eyes away from the language that didn’t make his point.
    All of this is in the article you claim you have read and understand. I didn’t fault Greenwald’s analysis. My complaint was how he got there.
    The last part of your rant above demonstrates the problem with gullible progressives such as yourself. This article is NOT an analysis of the NDAA. The NDAA is a 902 page bill, and the section Greenwald mentioned had already changed significantly by the time his piece came out. It’s an analysis of how the professional left just lies outright, a la Fox News, and their lickspittle troops defend them on it, much like Fox News fanboys.
    My piece DID show Greenwald was wrong. I was even specific as to the lies he told and proving that many of his statements were not fact.
    Greenwald poses himself as a journalist. It is NEVER the READER’s “burden” to prove the journalist right or wrong. It should be assumed that everything the journalist says is accurate. Much of what the professional left says is based on what sounds good, and little more. Our job as progressives is to get as many people on our side as possible, and when our “journalists” say things that are not true, it hurts us.
    My argument is, we have the truth on our side. Greenwald and the other pro lefties could easily have said, “There is a troubling section in the NDAA that should worry the average American, because it doesn’t comport with our basic constitutional principles.” In fact, this is the argument the ACLU makes, brilliantly. Read the ACLU analysis of that section of this bill, and compare it to Greenwald’s article. Greenwald said things that were untrue, because he’s positioned himself as a flamethrower. That’s okay, that’s his choice. But much of his rhetoric undermines the progressive movement, especially when it includes statements that are demonstrably false.
    By the way, that last statement above is demonstrably false. I dealt with specific statements from Greenwald’s column and the actual language in the bill that HE CHOSE to support his analysis and showed some very unambiguous language from THAT SAME SECTION to prove my point. I DEMONSTRATED that what Greenwald said was untrue. My complaint wasn’t with his conclusion, but how he got there.

  11. Calling opinions facts doesn’t make them so. Let’s take your lies one at a time, shall we?
    #1. The bill’s name. Whatever legitimate point you may have that it isn’t fair to call the entire NDAA an indefinite detention bill is utterly and completely undermined that it is crystal clear that Glenn Greenwald is using the phrase solely to refer to those portions of the NDAA that reference detention. In essence, your argument is “Glenn Greenwald is a liar because he called the Conference Committee report a ‘bill’.” Whatever.
    Furthermore, Greenwald never suggested, explicitly or implicitly, that Obama had a line item veto. Anyone who is following this story understands that Obama threatened to veto the entire bill. Then he withdrew his veto threat. Obviously the critics are saying that Obama should follow through on his pledge to veto the entire bill.
    You simply concocted an argument that Greenwald never made (you claim, falsely, that it was “implicit”) Then you call Greenwald a liar because your concoted implication makes no sense.
    #2. “Obama did not announce his intention to sign the “Indefinite Detention Bill”. ”
    He announced his intention to sign the NDAA, which includes the objectionable provisions.
    “and for Greenwald to claim it’s “embedded” in the 2012 NDAA is an obfuscation, if not an outright falsehood, because it implies a possibility for him to veto just that “bill.”
    Um, again no. See #1. In fact, the term “embedded” would suggest that it is NOT possible to veto just the objectionable portions. Only if Greenwald suggested that it was a stand-alone bill, which he clearly didn’t, could one make this argument.
    #3. “Until the end of the hostilities” does not necessarily mean “indefinite detention.”
    It does if “the end of hostilities” is not definite. That is the definition of “indefinite”. It isn’t defined. Greenwald didn’t say that detention is “for life” or “permanent”. The point is that someone who is detained would have no certainty of release or due process. It is “not definite”.
    You have a personal opinion as to when lawmakers are going to declare the end of hostilities. I happen to disagree with it. But that isn’t the point. The point is that even you admit that you don’t know when “hostilities will end”. Thus detention is indefinite.
    People who have different opinions from you are not liars. Glenn Greenwald clearly has no faith that legislators are EVER going to declare an end to hostilities. Disagree if you want. It doesn’t make him a liar.
    #4. “As you can see when you read both d) and e) in section 1021 above, the “bill” does NOT expand the scope of the AUMF, and explicitly does NOT expand it.”
    Except that 1021(b)(2)is an expansion of covered people. Other than that…
    #5. The “bill” DOES explicitly exempt US citizens from its provisions.
    I disagree. Greenwald’s analysis is far more persuasive. That isn’t surprising as his background would suggest that he is far more qualified than you to interpret the legislation.
    But again, that isn’t the point. The burden is on you to show not only that Greenwald is wrong but knowingly and intentionally wrong. That he is lying when he states his opinion about the legislation.
    Unfortunately for you, your argument rests on the dubious premise that statutory language is rarely ambiguous and if two people disagree about statutory language then one of the people must be lying. That is nonsense. People debate statutory construction in good faith all the time. As a lawyer (not an “ex-lawyer”) Greenwald is aware of this even if you are not.

  12. And I agree with this wholeheartedly. The current incarnation of the GOP is the biggest problem right now, and we have to get rid of them before we can even think of moving this country to the left. Obama’s progressive; he doesn’t have any support and he can’t do everything by himself; he needs help.

  13. The article is about the lies, not about the NDAA. You’ll note that I refer to the Conference Report, which is what many on the professional were referring to as they were lying to push for a veto. When the bill changed, their arguments didn’t.
    I agree with you; there will be a lot of litigation coming from this, and it probably won’t take effect for a while. Which makes a lot of the hysteria surrounding this provision even more ridiculous.

  14. Brian, you’re tiresome.
    1. So far, this article has been read at least 40,000 times (on this blog alone), and only a handful of people don’t seem to get what it’s about. It’s not about the NDAA. It’s about the lies told to make our case.
    2. Most people don’t really know anything about this bill and the hubbub surrounding it. It’s become “infamous” because a handful of professional lefties screams about it and a number of other lefties (like you) cream over everything they say.
    3. You are defending the indefensible. My feeling about these sections are probably not all that different from GG’s. You’re ASSUMING I must disagree with him because I take issue with his method of argument.
    5. I don’t insult most of the people who disagree with me. In fact, I don’t really insult anyone, except to note that people like you apparently have a serious problem with literacy. If you feel that is an insult, that’s your problem. It’s actually an observation, because you STILL don’t seem to get the gist of the article. Funny how so many people have read this article, but only a few seem unable to understand it. In fact, perhaps you’ve noticed that you’re even among a distinct minority of commenters.
    6. The issue is this: Greenwald stated several “facts” that I proved were NOT facts, by using the language from the same sections of the bills that he cites. I didn’t disagree with his opinion; I proved his facts were NOT, in fact, facts.
    7. You DO write propaganda. It’s in this comment. You assume no one will ever Google “indefinite detention bill” or apparently look for the bill in Thomas. You call such a thing “nitpicky.” Don’t look now, but you just rationalized the way Fox News reports “news.” As I have pointed out several times now, what if supporters of NDAA, or even Fox News decided to call it the “Whistleblowers Protection Bill”? There IS a provision in the bill that expands protections for whistleblowers. Would you have an objection? You’d have no objection to a group who LOVED the idea of indefinite detention for suspected terrorists telling everyone that vetoing this bill would lead to whistleblowers being targeted by the government to a greater degree? Don’t look now, but calling this bill an “indefinite detention bill” is the EXACT SAME THING.
    Greenwald can make his points by telling the truth. That’s all I’m asking for. Progressives have the truth on our side; we need to USE IT. Every time we lie about something to make a point, it makes US look like THEM, and it undermines our cause. I don’t give a shit what someone calls himself; if what he/she’s doing is undermining the progressive cause I’m against what they’re doing.
    That you can defend that sort of behavior is depressing.

  15. Addendum:
    But overall, I agree with your assessment that we need to re-elect Obama and vote in a Democrat OR INDEPENDENT (or both) Congress, and get rid of the Republicans, especially the so-called “Tea Party” fearmongers. I believe that, given free reign (or nearly so) in a second term as a lame duck President, Mr. Obama would not need to be circumspect, and would therefore be able to fulfill much more of his agenda to get this country back on the correct track.

  16. Excuse me, Mr. Shook, perhaps I missed something. But it seems to me that Section 1031(b)(1):
    (b)(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
    As I read this, the operative phrase here is “under this section”. If I’m not mistaken, it means exactly what it says, that the requirement to detain in military custody does not apply ONLY in reference to (b)(1).
    If I have missed something, please enlighten me.
    Personally, I think this bill is a gift from Congress to the American Bar association.

  17. Norbrookc, that is not true. As we’ve seen many times before, governmental organizations can operate under “executive order” without a budget. If you think the military will just shut down for lack of funding, you’re mistaken.
    I’m not interested in getting my way. I simply don’t like the idea that American citizens can be locked up without due process and for an indefinite amount of time. Since you and this blogger seem to think that is just fine, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  18. Milt, I’ve got a 128 IQ and reading is actually one of my strengths. Since SO many people seem to have reading comprehension problems when reading your article, you might reconsider your writing ability. One or two people might miss the point, but considering the number of people you’re responded to about their reading comprehension, maybe the problem isn’t with them.
    You seem very nitpicky. Yes, there is no bill with the name “Indefinite Detention Bill.” However, this bill has become somewhat infamous because of this value language about detention of US citizens, and that worries people. So we can call it whatever you like, but when I refer to it to others, I’ll probably just call it the “detention bill” for brevity.
    And no, “reasonable bystanders” will Google search the phrase “detention bill” and find many articles about it, along with the correct name. Your concern is noted but overstated.
    The military would not shut down if Obama voted this monstrosity. We’ve seen this sort of thing before. Whether by “executive order” or some other means, the military would continue until another funding bill came along.
    “End of the hostilities” is just too vague for me to be comfortable. No, sorry, I haven’t been paying attention to “my own propaganda.” Probably because I don’t produce propaganda. Hopefully, everyone with a brain realizes that Greenwald’s post was simply his take on the bill. Nobody thinks that because he wrote it, it is fact. Same with your article and the next thousand that pops up on a Google search.
    My sentence regarding lefties putting together a lawsuit should not imply to you that is the correct way to write bills. That is a drastic last hope, and certainly not the way bills should be written.
    I understand you are biased and extremely pro-military, but I am not. The detention provisions in the bill are unconstitutional.
    You sound like a right-winger insulting everyone that disagrees with you. I thought you said we shouldn’t be like them?

  19. Jeez, Square, why don’t you just engage in rank sophistry?
    I am not pointing to differences of opinion. In fact, I didn’t even mention whether I agree with his OPINION on the matter. it doesn’t matter whether I agree with him or not. My complaint is with his “statements of fact” that are, in fact, not fact.
    One of the problems many progressives seem to have is an inability to understand the difference between opinion and fact, and you apparently are one of those folks. It’s not a matter of opinion that there is no “Indefinite Detention Bill.” There isn’t. If you believe there is, then show me the bill number. The section GG refers to 2 pages of a bill that runs about 902 pages.
    I’m not pointing out differences of OPINION with Greenwald. I don’t necessarily disagree with Greenwald on the issue. My issue has to do with his tendency to blow off facts and to make up others, in order to make “arguments” he doesn’t even have to make. Here’s an idea;
    “Found embedded in the 902 pages of the NDAA are a couple of small sections that could lead to a president being able to indefinitely detain some prisoners without trial.”
    There you go. The same goddamn argument without telling a lie.
    Let me ask you a question. If Hannity REALLY wanted this bill to pass and called this “The Whistleblower Protection Act,” wouldn’t you take HIM to task for lying about the name of the bill? I would. And if you claim you wouldn’t, you’d be lying.
    Yet, there is a section in this bill that provides for better protection of whistleblowers. MUCH better protection. So, if we use the same “logic” with Hannity under the same circumstances, then you can’t call Hannity a liar. In fact, if you justify GG’s lies, you pretty much validate Fox’s entire approach to news.
    Saying things that he knows are untrue make GG a liar. As a journalist, he has to know better. As an ex-lawyer, who has a pretty significant college degree, it defies logic that he didn’t know that what he was saying was untrue. And don’t look now, but I didn’t just SAY that what he said was untrue. I PROVED it was untrue. You can’t prove an opinion untrue.
    I feel another column coming on. We progressives have to understand the difference between opinion and fact.

  20. You provide no evidence that Greenwald was a failure, either in private practice or in his current role as a civil liberies advocate.
    “You might want to look up his history.”
    The way these things usually work is that the person making the accusation provide the evidence.

  21. Here’s the problem, Milt. When you accuse someone of lying, you are accusing them of intentionally deceiving people. And yet, you don’t provide a single shred of evidence that Greenwald is saying anything that he does not believe to be true. All you offer are differences of opinion. Even if you were right and Greenwald were wrong, that doesn’t mean that he is lying. Nor does it mean that he is an asshole.
    You write, “I want to see it repealed, which will happen if assholes like Greenwald start going after the perpetrators of this nonsense, and stop attacking Obama and Democrats incessantly.”
    First, it strikes me as bizarre that someone would suggest that it makes more sense, politically, to enact something and hope to repeal it down the road than it does to just not enact it in the first place.
    Second, neither Greenwald nor I believe that the White Hous and the majority of Democrats in Congress have any desire to restrict the powers of the Executive. This is a President who has already exercised his power to order the assassination of a U.S. citizen overseas without due process. Why would I think that he doesn’t want unlimited powers of detention?
    You may have a difference of opinion, but it is just an opinion. And people who disagree with you are not liars.

  22. The “why can’t we all be civil” whine is usually trotted out when some member of the professional left gets called out for blatantly lying or misrepresentation. Then they’re being “attacked,” and oh, why can’t we all just be nice? I notice that they feel – and their defenders here – feel no obligation to do so for themselves.
    Glenn Greenwald was lawyer at a fairly large law firm, and a failure at that. He was also a failure as a civil liberties advocate. You might want to look up his history.

  23. The “lessor of two evils” meme is wrong. The use of that meme sets the brain up to the idea that there is no way to win. I prefer to look at it and explain that it’s more like survival training. In survival training you are not presented with a list of things you do not have. Such a list would mean you are focused on the idea that you can’t succeed without a,b or c. With survival training you’re given a list of things that you do have, however seemingly insignificant these things may be, and your job is to make the most of these items in your efforts to survive.
    So, when choosing which person to elect as President, and Governor, and Congressman, and Senator, and dog catcher, using our survival training we are not choosing the lessor of evils. We are in stead making the decision to make the most of what we have.
    Our survival is exactly what we’re after. So stop thinking like someone that’s already accepted that he can’t win!

  24. Actually Brian, as was stated in the article, it’s doubtful that could ever get bast the SCOTUS. Even a Bush stacked SCOTUS! Further the article stated that one good way to have it thrown out would be o wait until someone was arrested, and have the SCOTUS decide the legality. Happens all the time.

  25. See, here we have a classic example of the sort of liberal division that would make Karl Rove happy enough to pee his pants. While we’re hacking on each other and being fully distracted, they’re putting treasonous poison pills in our legislation knowing full will that many of us would blame the wrong person! Lovely how that works eh?

  26. Why do some liberals assume that because other liberals don’t agree with them, then naturally they aren’t AS liberal, and there for somehow lacking? I hear it quite often, and the fact is odds are I’m actually more liberal than most of you. I’m also much more pragmatic in that small victories are better than no victories!

  27. The short answer to all of the above is, once again, this post is NOT about what Greenwald/others say, but rather, how he says it. I don’t disagree with his premise at all. But if we LIE to support it, then the people we need to reach will never trust us.
    BTW, I’m not a centrist Democrat. I’m a full-on progressive. I have been a progressive my entire life. Greenwald, OTOH hasn’t. Yet, as a convert, he’s always telling everyone else how they should think as “good progressives.” He’s not fighting for “freedom.” a couple of weeks ago, I critiqued a piece of his where he lamented that too many of the “wrong” 99%ers were “coopting” OWS. Specifically, he was complaining about SEIU, a huge labor union, whose president had been among those arrested a few days earlier.

  28. Can I ask a simple question? Why are Centrist Democrats incapable of behaving civilly in the face of criticism from liberals?
    Here is how someone might respond to Greenwald in a respectful manner:
    “I disagree with Glenn Greenwald about how bad this is. My reading of the bill suggests that it does not go as far as Greenwald fears. But, hey, he is a strong advocate for civil liberties. So I am not surprised that he is less comfortable with the ambiguous language. I am also not surprised that he lacks the trust that I have in the Obama administration to not abuse the powers. I also am not surprised that he is more skeptical than I am that the courts would hear constitutional challenges and rule in favor of civil liberties.
    But, I appreciate that there are people like Glenn Greenwald in this world fighting for our freedoms. Liberty depends not only on a military protecting us from foreign threats, but also from lawyers and other civil liberties advocates who speak out when our rights are threatened.”
    Here is how someone responds in an uncivil manner: Glenn Greenwald is a liar and an asshole.
    As for being “professional left”, Glenn Greenwald is a smart guy who could be making a hell of a lot more money as a corporate lawyer than a civil liberties advocate. The least people could do is show him some respect and not pretend that his actions are motivated by money.

  29. said…
    Milty can’t help but insult and obfuscate. With gems like — There’s No Such Thing as an “Indefinite Detention Bill” and Other Pro Left Lies and then not being able to refute and discuss the bill with regard to his absurd position is typical. Plus he then argues the usual nonsense about how Obama is the bestest ever. He’s to be trusted, always. It’s the mean congress that makes him do all the ugly things he does, because he really, really cares. It’s the same bs that he accuses the PL of doing when their demands are you know, unreasonable. Like, you know arguing about rainbows and unicorns and getting angry when they didn’t get their pony and all that bs. Only this time he’s not complaining about the PL demanding those things; he’s assigning O’s motives to those same absurd hopes and presupposes (with absolutely no evidence) that O will piss rainbows and shit unicorns to fix this crappy bill before President Gingrich can get his insane paws on it. Because you know, THIS administration will reject and fix all the odious things in the bill, later on. Always later. Please. Milty and his co-conspirators (in the white washing of O’s performance) are simply not capable of seeing that their sainted O can do anything craven or disgusting. They can’t even conceive of it and dismiss all other parties for pointing his failings and lies out (ACLU et al, yeah fuck them they have no credibility). To admit to this despicable spin would be to admit that your boyfriend really is banging that hot little thing that keeps flirting with him, even though he promises that he only loves you. Right. Milty can’t be trusted to evenhandedly analyze anything that comes out of the O White House. His default position is to drop to his knees and look lovingly into O’s eyes and never ever demand an explanation for anything. Because you know elections have consequences and when you demand answers you’re only aiding and abetting the enemy. What a stupid, stupid man.

  30. Cob, your complaints are straw-man rattle. Milt carefully explained that Obama doesn’t have LIV, and that the rider’s provisions aren’t as bad as civil libertarians fear and some claim. He did that with actual quotes and analysis from the Bill. I wish he’d quoted text from the important Section 1021, which would help me since I have old Adobe and can’t read it. But he does make an argument, and even then admits he doesn’t really like the rider. Note that politicians end up voting for what they can or LOTE (as do we most times) and then go back if they can, REM Kerry “I was for the bill before I was against it”, well that was not as silly as Republicans made it sound – it was part of the wrangling process.
    “Fine minds make fine distinctions.”

  31. Great article Milt, and I’ve used it as a source many times already.
    I must say I was amazed at how quickly the Pro-left managed to muck up the whole discussion with crap. First, they keep referring to the letter from the ACLU that was written and posted before the wording was changed. Then they found several articles dated early January 2011 discussing the 2011 NDAA and simply ignored that it was least years poison pill compromise. All of this, and the lightning speed of Facebook, such that now you have hundreds of thousands of utterly confused lefties with their back hairs up that won’t listen to the truth.
    In fact, it’s so amazing that I question whether it’s not a Karl Rove type deliberate act of political deception.

  32. Chris wrote “If W. had shown such strong support for this while in office, the left would have been in an uproar.”
    But I thought (am I right?) that Obama didn’t “show strong support”, he just tolerated it because it was attached as a rider, and/or maybe he preferred other language to what came up. Remember, all the President can do (yes, allies can push things, but he can’t directly) is sign or fail to sign bills, and executive orders with their limitations.

  33. Jason, I don’t know if you have a good point or not about details of the Bill – but if you are right about sections canceling other sections, then the whole damn thing can’t even be used as law! How would a Judge even know how to apply it, etc? If it’s that bad in the manner you imply, then it has worse problems (legally and logically) than just being distasteful to civil libertarians.

  34. Democrats and Republicans are not the same. To equate the two is just silly. Yet, that’s what you do when you claim Obama will suffer no ill consequences because Bush didn’t. Democrats would never try to score political points by causing thousands to become unemployed. Republicans have been doing this all year.
    Here’s how little you know about politics.
    1. Neither party wins elections by appealing to their “base.” That’s why they call it a “base.” Republicans only win when they depress turnout. Democrats can only win when they get more people to the polls. IOW, genius, the GOP has an incentive to NOT pass this bill, and they WOULD stand to gain if he vetoed this bill and the unemployment rate suddenly shot upward.
    2. If you can’t see how important “lesser of two evils” voting is after the last year, you’re hopeless. What the hell has to happen to get through to you that the far right is our biggest major problem, and that no Democrat even comes close, not even Lieberman.
    From what I can see, you have no credibility when it comes to assessing others’ political intelligence.

  35. What an important point!
    It’s a shame the writer didn’t practice editing prior to submitting his work for typos and grammatical blunders. That no effort was taken to check his piece for errors in copy, makes me wonder if he bothered to do due diligence and check this column for errors in accuracy. Bummer!

  36. It seems to me your article is well researched, and well documented. Good for you. However, it is my opinion that you could reach a wider cross-section of the “progressive” community if you seek to maintain a more neutral, objective stance on this issue. This bill has only gotten so far due to strong bipartisan support. Where are the powerful Democrats such has Reid and Pelosi on this? If W. had shown such strong support for this while in office, the left would have been in an uproar. However, it seems to me that because we have a Democrat in office, the Democrats with real political clout (Kucinich not not included here), the rest are pandering to him.

  37. The transcript for the House Debate on this issue is enlightening. There are (D) and (R)’s on both sides. It is not a partisan issue, it seems to be an issue of interpretation. A part of me thinks this is contrived outrage to bring attention to the questionable laws on foreign indefinite detention already on the books. The pro left is running with it because it fits their false “Obama is like Bush” narrative. The right is running with it because they are opportunists and the media is making this about “Obama letting down his base”.
    Opponents seem to interpret (e) as reinforcing existing law (Hamdi dec) which they think allows the President to indefinitely detain US citizens. Proponents say (e) specifically states 1031 doesn’t affect existing law AND exempts US citizens. I have to agree proponents. The passage of NDAA doesn’t change anything. Unfortunately, the damage is done. This will become one of those lies that progressives push to the benefit of the right. It is almost as damaging as the “Obama had a filibuster proof majority in his first 2 years” lie.

  38. Great job, Milt. I couldn’t begin to make sense of what was going on with the NDAA what with so many various accounts and the attendant Tilt-a-Whirl spin. I too, join you in your concern about anyone possibly being detained indefinitely, but things are what they are and sadly it is already happening. Is that power already in AUMF? Finally, my complaint is with the Senator Levin, et al, who acquiesced in the Republican NDAA “Poison Pill” Amendment. The Amendment should have never made it into the final bill thereby putting President Obama into the box he is in with the matter.

  39. Do you mean like the way Bush vetoed this bill over the withdrawal date, etc, thingies?
    8. National Defense Authorization Act for FY2008
    HR 1585
    To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.
    Veto Date: 28 December 2007
    Jan 15, 2008 — Referred to House Armed Services Committee
    Memorandum (PDF) http://uspolitics.about.com/od/electionissues/tp/Bush-Vetos.htm
    Boy, he and the repubs sure suffered some devastating political consequences, didn’t they? As a BHO voter in 2008 and a likely one in 2012 under the same “lesser of two evils” rationale based primarily on the SCOTUS appointments, I’m not sure who I find more sickening at this point — those who authored this crap or BHO apologists like you. It’s almost like you think he’d lose support from his base for vetoing this, as opposed to gaining it.
    It only goes to show you that having a blog doesn’t necessarily make you any brighter than the common man on the street, much like having degrees from higher education serves as no bar to blatant and gross stupidity.

  40. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
    The interpretive question is whether this exempts US citizens generally or only those who are captured or arrested in the US. In other words does the final captured or arrested clause apply only to “any other persons” or to the entire provision.
    I’d hate to lose existing protections by traveling outside the US.

  41. Now, what happens when we claim victory over defeating this non-existent bill, and the public finds out the veto means no defense spending for a couple of months, and the troops didn’t get paid around Christmas, or they can’t get a flight home after Holiday leave, or any number of possible scenarios

    Milt, sadly people like Brian here think that’s quite acceptable. They’re more interested in getting their way and “purity” than in actually helping people or pragmatically. I saw that last year around this time during the tax debate, where the “true progressives” would rather have killed a bill that extended unemployment insurance to millions of people and reduced taxes on most people, because it also kept the tax reduction for millionaires. It was more important for them to get their way than to help people.

  42. Um, you might want to look up the actual Supreme Court decision before you blather. It’s Hamdi v Rumsfeld. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamdi_v._Rumsfeld

    reversing the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S. citizen being detained indefinitely as an “illegal enemy combatant.” The Court recognized the power of the government to detain enemy combatants, but ruled that detainees who are U.S. citizens must have the ability to challenge their enemy combatant status before an impartial judge.

  43. Is there anyone who has a problem with this article who is capable of reading for understanding? Brian, you don’t know what this article was about, even though the first paragraph sets it up rather nicely. The article is NOT about the NDAA, but rather, how some “progressives” talk about it. Strangely, in your ignorance, Brian, you actually serve to prove my point.
    1. There is NO SUCH THING an “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Never has been. You may have decided it’s a “common name,” but the FACT is, there is no such thing. It’s a lie. Like the genius above who thinks the Deficit Commission was actually about cat food, your delusions do not become fact because you believe them. That’s what this article is about. That’s what my blog has been fighting over the last few months. If we want to win elections and get better people running the government (and if we don’t want to, what’s the point?, we can’t do the same things they do.
    Here’s the problem with that. Reasonable bystanders will see the discussion of this, go to Thomas, try to find the bill, and when they can’t (they won’t), they’ll assume we’re full of crap, just like the right wingers, and dismiss us. They’ve been doing that for decades, which is why we can’t win. There is no Indefinite Detention Bill. It’s part of the NDAA. It is not possible for Obama to veto the Indefinite Detention Bill without vetoing the entire NDAA, which COULD lead to putting hundreds of thousands or more out of work, at least temporarily, during a recession recovery and an election year.
    Now, what happens when we claim victory over defeating this non-existent bill, and the public finds out the veto means no defense spending for a couple of months, and the troops didn’t get paid around Christmas, or they can’t get a flight home after Holiday leave, or any number of possible scenarios.
    You don’t get to LIE about a non-existent bill, and then claim you’re an honest forthright progressive. WE have the truth on our side; we need to use it. PR and image are very important in politics. What happens to both when we just make shit up and talk ourselves into believing it?
    Now, about your critique of my “sadly misguided” statements:
    2. The bill Greenwald’s actually talking about is NOT the final bill, that Obama agreed to sign. The provisions Greenwald discusses are in the Conference Report, and the bill has been changed since then. Again; the article is NOT about the bill. It’s about some progressives’ discussion of the bill.
    3. “End of the Hostilities” means whatever the PRESIDENT says it means. Haven’t you been paying attention to your own propaganda? But the point is, Greenwald is offering his opinion as fact, which seems to be a common problem among certain people on the left. Greenwald does not state fact anywhere in his piece. I only pointed up the obvious LIES.
    By the way, don’t look now, but your last sentence just validated my entire article. As you (unwittingly?) note, there are many ways to get rid of this small provision in the bill without demanding that Obama veto the entire NDAA. Go figure, huh?

  44. How can you have confidence in your position? Just one example: the bill says they can hold American citizens without trial “until hostilities are over.” Yes, that IS vague. How can you not consider that a violation of your constitutional rights?

  45. I LOVED this article. Thank you.
    Don’t worry about the “Varuca Salt” wing of the Democratic Party no doubt responding up thread with their predictable complaints and nitpicking, you sir are correct.
    Someone had to point it out. God knows I have been trying to.

  46. I get your point, but you sure talk about the bill a lot for the article not to be able the bill. How about you quit insulting your readers when they discuss the merits of the bill, which are a significant part of your post?

  47. “Yes, I do admit section c) looks troubling, especially if you look at it all by itself. But as long as we have Obama (or Biden) in office, we have time to get rid of it, especially if we give them a Democratic Congress.”
    Troubling, indeed. If you think Obama/Biden are going to strike down this bill after they allowed it, I think you are very wrong. Not to mention that we may not even have a “Obama/Biden” presidency to strike it down. I don’t understand why you’re so optimistic here. This is going to be LAW.
    You seem happy with section b because you consider the language “somewhat limiting.” I’m not so happy about vague language that can be turned against America citizens.
    I blame everyone who didn’t oppose this bill. Unfortunately, that includes Obama. Politically stupid to kill it? Maybe. Maybe not. With the public, this was a highly unpopular bill. It is widely known as the “detention bill.”
    Your attempts to call Glenn Greenwald’s post “lies” are also sadly misguided:
    1. There IS an “Indefinite Detention Bill”. That is the common name for the bill we are discussing, due to the unpopularity of this detention provision.
    2. Obama did announce that he would sign this bill. Additionally, this provision IS embedded in the 2012 NDAA, and certainly not an “outright falsehood” or false in any manner. If it is NOT in this bill, please point that out to Greenwald, myself, and everyone else.
    3. You say “Until the end of the hostilities” does not necessarily mean “indefinite detention.” However, the truth is that it means whatever the military says it means. Do THEY think hostilities are over? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Yes, I’d call that indefinite.
    You seem to have as much trouble with Greenwald’s choice of wording (“detention bill”) as with his actual gripes. I would like to see the positive spin on this bill that you seem to, but I don’t. It’s a vaguely worded unconstitutional bill that gives our government and military unprecedented power over American citizens. It’s bad any way you spell it, and Greenwald’s spelling was pretty accurate. I hope leftist organizations are putting together a lawsuit right now.

  48. So, millions of people dont get unemployment, millions more see their taxes go up, and more people get kicked off work until they can work this out, and the GOP does not care, and this was the best solution, to act like them?
    Its great you want to just shoot the hostage to kill the hostage taker, unless you’re the hostage, and thats where i see most of these emo-progs at.
    They scream about shut it down if the GOP stands in the way, but how many of them will suffer when the government stops
    And that 100.00 per month ay not mean much to you, but seeing now 1 in 2 people are either poor, or getting poor, $100 is a light bill, its a heat bill, its gas in the car.
    Thats like saying to someone hanging by a tightrope “Sorry, this tightrope isnt perfect that you’re hanging on for dear life, I gotta cut for the far off chance of something perfect, you understand, right?”

  49. There is nothing new in any of those articles. It is the same reactionary backwash I have read in far too many other opinion pieces.
    Experts who have taken a closer look have explicitly said there is nothing in the NDAA that give the President new powers.

  50. “Now, go take a Xanax or whatever you normally take, and get a grip”
    That’s pretty childish.
    Have a good night. Glad you oppose these provisions and hope you will perhaps write a blog that informs people of the danger they pose to our civil liberties. Instead of labeling those that would advocate for a veto as “liars” and selfish betrayers of the President and citizens of the country. Or perhaps in support of the Due Process act of 2011 being offered by Fienstein. Thanks.

  51. You neither read the bill or listened to the full statements of Senator Levin.
    To see Senator Levin’s full comments and to hear him say, in his own words, the bill contains exemptions for US citizens and those legally in the United States see the CSPAN video linked below. Levin also corrects the faulty assumption on the part of the media that the bill allows indefinite detention of US Citizens. It is a 10 hour video, go to 1:36:00 and LISTEN.
    Levin goes on to say that this bill actually affords detainees more rights than before. For example, they are all entitled to habeas hearings, with a military lawyer and judge present (no more “tribunals”) and even if someone is deemed legitimately detainable, that is now subject to annual review.
    Dailykos has a good diary that clears all this up. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/11/1044215/-The-Rest-of-What-Levin-Said-on-NDAA-Provisions

  52. BTW, I even SAID in the article that I don’t care for these provisions and hope they change. But there are many ways to do that, without pushing Obama into a booby trapped veto.

  53. Childish insults? I’m only stating the fact that it looks like neither you nor Jason have actually read the article. If you have, then you don’t understand it.
    I have the utmost confidence in my position. You don’t understand it. Not my problem.

  54. Milt- you stoop to childish insults very easily. Which tells me you have very little actual confidence in your position. Not that you should. I hope your readers will consider this subject carefully and join those of us that are fighting for the protections the Constitution and Bill of Rights should afford citizens of the United States. I hope you also continue to research and perhaps recant this blog. Thanks.

  55. Uh! Okay then …The title says it all and uh! How is it claiming that it is about people demanding Obama not Vetoing the “BIL” not about the Uh! “BILL” Not to mention all the sections you added together that are not even part of the same sections of the “BILL” I am pretty sure this article is about the “BILL” ..

  56. Good post- I will research your quote. Does the fact that this Supreme Court upheld the right of the Federal Government to hold a citizen as an enemy combatant make it right? Can you think of any recent court decisions where you agreed with the minority?

  57. No thnks I read the bill very thourouhly and I see you are only chosing certain parts of certain sections and leaving out the sections that make exceptions…Plus I will stick with all the experts that absolutly disagree with you on this “Real” reporters not “bloggers”,with much better knowledge of the bill then you are showing from the U.S and around the world.. The ACLU which specializes in this sort of thing..I just belive you should wait to write articles before you know all the facts you only serve to devide the left further..You are not helping…

  58. You need to take a deep breath, and re-read the article. It’s not ABOUT the bill. It’s about the bullshit surrounding demands that Obama veto the bill.
    Now, go take a Xanax or whatever you normally take, and get a grip. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

  59. Yet another BLOGGER that does not understand the words disposition ,subsection ,And can not tell the difference between the seperate sections of the bill…No where does it say Indefinate Denention is not an option ..It also only states that only in 1 single section that U.S citizens are exempt from ONLY that 1 section ..However in the law of war section and 1031 there are conradictions and exeptions that cancel out the 1 section you are talking about…To understand this bill you would have to jump back and fourth from section to section paragraph to paragraph and obviously yoou have not and are only focusing on 1 single section like a few other BLOGGERS are doing ..Please refrain from writing anymore about this until you Fully understand how to interpret the bill..You are not helping..

  60. Because you sight the Bill and then interpret it. Your interpretation is incorrect, as STATED BY THE SPONSORS OF THE BILL ON THE SENATE FLOOR.
    The ACLU notes:
    Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1031 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.
    But you don’t have to believe us. Instead, read what one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”
    Another sponsor of the bill – Senator Levin – has also repeatedly said that the bill applies to American citizens on American soil, citing the Supreme Court case of Hamdi which ruled that American citizens can be treated as enemy combatants:
    “The Supreme Court has recently ruled there is no bar to the United States holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant,” said Levin. “This is the Supreme Court speaking.“

  61. “First of all, MOST of the most odious provisions were removed after he threatened to veto.”
    They were not. The provision that was modified in order to get over the veto threat was a provision that would have remanded all detainees to the military. The administration did not want the Presidents hands tied in this way. Far from the most odious provision of the Bill. they preserved the power of the executive that was threatened with oversight.
    “it’s quite possible hundreds of thousands of people might be thrown out of work for a couple of months, all for a provision that (as I pointed out, if you’d bother to read the article) could become absolutely MOOT in the next year. Basically, what you’re saying is, millions of people losing their jobs is a fair trade for a small provision that only applies to enemy combatants outside the United States and could easily be rendered moot if Obama declares al Qaeda dead and buried and makes nice with the Afghan Taliban?”
    How many times can you say “possibly” and “if” and “could” and also be factually incorrect in your argument? The provisions do apply to US Citizens. As testified to by the sponsors of the bill on the open floor of the Senate. Here is a link: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/12/the-indefinite-detention-bill-does-apply-to-american-citizens-on-u-s-soil.html You can review the legal opinions and words of the Senators yourself.
    I read your entire post. It is based on beliefs you hold that have no basis in fact. You actually fabricate a GOP plot to justify these provisions being part of the DOD legislation. You also fantasize about the administration declaring an end to hostilities. I’m sorry, can’t support the signing of the Bill with your suppositions and predictions and hopes as a basis.
    You are correct on the Bill already being passed. A veto was all that is available. I am hoping against all hope that there will be a change in the administrations position.

  62. Wow, you just regurgitated what the Professional Left selectively quoted Senator Levin as saying. You see, if you’d actually listened to what the Senator had said after their “OMG!” hyperventilation, you would have seen this:

    Administration officials reviewed the draft language for this provision and recommended additional changes. We were able to accommodate those recommendations, except for the Administration request that the provision apply only to detainees captured overseas and there’s a good reason for that. Even here, the difference is modest, because the provision already excludes all U.S. citizens. It also excludes lawful residents of U.S., except to extent permitted by the constitution. The only covered persons left are those who are illegally in this country or on a tourists/short-term basis. Contrary to some press statements, the detainee provisions in our bill do not include new authority for the permanent detention of suspected terrorists. Rather, the bill uses language provided by the Administration to codify existing authority that has been upheld in federal courts.

    Did you read that before making your decision? Doubtful.

  63. Seriously, what makes his blog more accurate than mine, except that you choose to believe it?
    As I showed using actual language IN THE BILL, that’s simply NOT TRUE.

  64. It’s hard to know where to start with the above.
    First of all, MOST of the most odious provisions were removed after he threatened to veto.
    Second of all, I note the number of times you use the words “I” and “me” in the above, which is quite telling. The bill is not about YOU; it’s about the country. YOU may not care about $100/month in your pocket, but there are millions of families to whom that would mean a lot. But that’s a different bill, with a different set of circumstances, anyway. You and many progressives love to conflate the two veto threats, but they’re not the same.
    Third, you never address the Hobson’s choice Obama was left with. If he vetoed that bill, it’s quite possible hundreds of thousands of people might be thrown out of work for a couple of months, all for a provision that (as I pointed out, if you’d bother to read the article) could become absolutely MOOT in the next year.
    Basically, what you’re saying is, millions of people losing their jobs is a fair trade for a small provision that only applies to enemy combatants outside the United States and could easily be rendered moot if Obama declares al Qaeda dead and buried and makes nice with the Afghan Taliban?
    That’s not principled; it’s the opposite.
    BTW, a president can’t just demand Congress stay in session, and there’s no chance Boehner would simply agree with a special session for a bill he already passed.

  65. Also, if the President could threaten to keep the entire Congress in session over the holidays until the payroll tax extension was made law- couldn’t he have threatened the same to clear this up? It seems to me that if the administration opposed this provision, that would have been an option. This issue is more important to me than $100.00 a month in my pocket.

  66. With respect, you are mistaken on this one. I cannot support the signing of this bill on the hope that Obama stays in office. Or the hope that the war on terror will be declared over at some point in the future- which it will not be. You should not support the entirety of the United Sates being declared a war zone because you trust and love our current President. You certainly do not grant these powers to the executive in order to save jobs. The President has been silent about this, except to say he wanted the choice of where to put “belligerants”. He has not said- I am completely against this- but have to sign it- and will work to remove it. Which he could easily say. Also, since Obama and the Congress have already extended the Patriot act and expanded it, already justified the extraditial killing of a US Citizen without any jurisprudence whatsoever, and gone to war without the approval of congress, I call bs. I don’t trust any administration with this power for any period of time. And no- I will not be working harder for Obama so he can have this power and not a republican. Unless I hear from the administration that they will work to repeal this measure- which you will most likely not hear because as Senator Levin said on the floor of the Senate- the Obama administration requested that the language excluding US Citizens be removed. This was not a Republican poison pill, it is a provision fought for in committee and and the floors of both houses by members of both parties. Members of both parties also argued strongly against these provisions, and my congressman voted against the bill because of these very provisions. A group of four star generals wrote an op-ed in the Times opposing this provisions as well. The ACLU and Amnesty International have raised their voices in protest over these provisions. Lastly- it is not a lie to call the DOD Bill the “detention bill”, it is shorthand that draws attention to the parts of the Bill that are offensive to many in the country.

  67. Excellent post, Milt, and quite correct. The “pro left” and their minions were going to hyperventilate about this no matter what. What the veto threat the President made actually resulted in was a removal of the more odious portions of this part, as originally put in by the House and Senate. All this really does is put things right were they’ve been since the AUMF was passed. That seems to be something that none of the pro Left bothers to mention.

  68. Lying? No. I believe you THINK that was a great analogy.
    Given the context of the article, it wasn’t even close. Did you NOT notice that they were talking about such a bill supposedly “embedded” in the NDAA?
    BTW, calling it the “cat food commission” didn’t actually make it about cat food. you knew that, right?
    Maybe not…

  69. You have no clue that your attempted analogy is fallacious, do you?
    Tell you what, though. Give me a bill number for this alleged “Indefinite Detention Bill” that Obama can veto without killing the rest of the defense budget, and I’ll post an apology.

  70. Given that I NEVER make a blanket statement anywhere in the above, if you’re insulted, it’s based on your imagination. note how many times I used the word “many” before “pro and emo left”.

  71. Obviously, everybody who uses the phrase “Catfood Commission” is lying too, because there’s no actual mention of catfood in “The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform,” which is its real name.
    Thanks for clearing that up, Milt, with cold mathematical logic.

  72. I like your article, but, seems you have made a literary blunder. What I see here, you are “straw-manning” Glenn Greenwald’s position and lumping the entire “Pro-Left” to his statements. You’ve made such an effort to dignify the truth of the matter, yet you overlook the truth that not all pro-left members of society believe what Greenwald believes nor has said it in order to be used as a reference. In the same token that it isn’t Obama’s fault the sections are there in the NDAA2012, it is not the “Pro-left” population saying it was. The Sections are there, they’ve passed all but one hurdle – you are correct, defunding the Pentagon is not a bright idea, but emergency provisions can be made as Congress has done with the tax-cut debacle. They can appropriate enough funds to the Pentagon to satisfy contracts until new legislation is passed. Happens all the time, a veto does not out-right defund the Pentagon by any means. But, no veto means we must depend on a right leaning Supreme Court to decide… These are the same people who brought GW Bush to power – do you really think they’ll rule against this?
    So, in summation; I consider myself “Pro-left” by association and I do not appreciate being called a liar. I don’t even know who Glenn Greenwald is, man. I like you’re position but I take exception with the effort to corral the Pro-left population into a round of “straw-man”. Brow beating over terminology, really, the point is still the same. This should never have happened.

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