On Wednesday, Ron Paul introduced a bill to his House colleagues to repeal section 1021 of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).
This section states the United States can indefinitely detain anyone—without charges or trial—who they believe has “substantially supported certain terrorist groups.”
Paul fears that this vague language could extend the military might to United States citizens.
Taking a break from campaigning for the GOP nomination, Paul defending his bill on the House floor and asked his colleagues to join him.
Paul said, in part:
Section 1021 provides for the possibility of the U.S. military acting as a kind of police force on U.S. soil, apprehending terror suspects, including Americans, and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely…This is precisely the kind of egregious distortion of justice that Americans have always ridiculed in so many dictatorships overseas.
He also took a swipe at Republican Senator Lindsay Graham (without naming him), by recalling his famous statement on the Senate floor about future detainees: “When they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”
“Is this acceptable,” Paul asked his colleagues, “in someone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution?”
Paul is not alone in his concern about the language and intent of the NDAA. Before the bill was passed, many Americans were upset and outraged over its possible implications. However, despite intense objections and little support for this bill among American citizens—a poll conducted by OpenCongress.com gave it just a 2% approval rating—Congress approved it and President Obama signed it into law on New Year’s Eve.
Now Paul is trying to get Congress to finally do right by the people who elected them. Will they listen to him? Who knows? But maybe their (dis)approval ratings are finally sinking in.
According to Bloomberg Business Week:
A Washington-Post ABC News poll conducted Jan. 12-15 put Congress’s approval rating at 13 percent, a record low for that opinion survey. A Dec. 15-18 Gallup poll put the approval rate at 11 percent, also a record low. A Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of those surveyed Dec. 7-11 said Republicans were more extreme than Democrats and 51 percent said Democrats were more willing to compromise.
Other surveys have given them approval ratings of between 5 and 9 percent.