In my handy dandy Apple dictionary app, indefinite means, “lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time.” Something about the word indefinite always kinda puts me on edge, depending on context, of course. When people say, “I’m moving here indefinitely!” I feel like, yay, you’re choosing to be somewhere for a long time!
But when someone’s like, “I don’t know when I’ll be back. My trip away is indefinite.” I feel like, damn. Something outside of your own control is probably putting you in a position that you don’t want to be in.
That said, when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law in the last day of 2011, I felt like, damn, that’s definitely something that can put you in a position you don’t want to be in. Indefinitely.
The NDAA basically allows (unconstitutional) military detention without due process (a charge or a trial) for any unknown length of time and from wherever there is an American battlefield. If you can imagine the types of loopholes and crazy interpretations of this bill, it could mean that an Occupy protest or a community center doing critical popular education is a battlefield.
This bill is bad news (bears). Not just because of the indefinite part, but because it is the beginning of the corrosion of civil liberties. This bill inches away at the “freedoms” Americans think we have. Further, the bill allows for a shoot-at-any-target type of tactic that has proven to be ruthless, inaccurate and dangerous (see Japanese internment, Post 9/11 Muslim hate crimes).
In class this past semester, we were discussing war and conflict and a student in my class said, “We’re free here in America.” And an invited speaker from the UK replied, “You’re quality of freedom is really low.” This NDAA bill definitely backs that argument up.
I know, I know, right. For the first post of the year, kind of a downer. But hey, if this is the kind of world we live in. It’s the kind of world I’ll write about.
On a more positive note, we get an extra day this year. Happy Leap Year!
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