Will the Defense Authorization Bill Bring Battlefield Rules to US Soil?

From Amnesty International by way of the Huffington Post we hear: Senate Introduces Disastrous New Detention Bill, part of SB1867, the National Defense Authorization bill. When I first read about this I thought it had to be a hoax. I couldn’t believe that even a Congresscritter would be stupid enough to vote for something like this. But a quick perusal of Google News confirmed that some members of Congress, not satisfied with merely abrogating their oaths of office, are intent upon positively shredding the Constitution. And quite possibly starting a civil war while they are at it…

Section 1031 of the bill extends the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after the September 11th attacks to encompass any individual who has “substantially supported” Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”

This is extraordinarily vague. The phrase “associated forces” is so flexible that it can be used to encompass almost any militant Islamic group in existence from Indonesia to Nigeria. It might include political parties who share some of the militants’ aims but not their methods — like the Hizb ut Tahrir movement active in Western Europe and Australia.

I’m sure that conservatives have visions of Occupy-ers being rounded up and incarcerated dancing in their heads. They should bear in mind Thomas Paine’s admonition: “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” Any law that conservatives can use to sweep up liberal protesters can also be used by liberals to sweep up conservative protesters.

The major difference between the two groups is that conservative protesters tend to have principles they are willing to die for, which means they have principles they are willing to kill for (remember the armed conservatives showing up at Occupy protests with signs saying “we don’t agree with them but we support their right to protest”). This is where the first part of the civil war threat comes in. When troops start collecting people into cattle cars to send them off to the modern-day gulag, do you think all of us are going to go along meekly or duck down in hopes we’ll get eaten last?

Blogger Mike Vanderboegh was once asked to boil down the pro-gun position into a single sentence. His reply was elegant and straightforward:  “If you try to take our firearms, we will kill you.” He goes on to point out that if even 3% (the percentage of Colonists who fought in the Revolution) of American gun owners are the “cold dead hands” type, that means that there are three million well-armed individuals willing to fight and kill for their freedoms (all their freedoms, not just gun rights).

And remember, an awful lot of these three million can (and regularly do) drop a deer at 500+ yards. Remember too that in 1999 Bill Clinton expanded the rules of engagement in Serbia to include “the political leadership, news media and the intellectual underpinning of his enemy’s war effort.” As Mike V. asks:

They will fight to the last ATF agent or to the last oath-breaking soldier. Will they fight to the first senior bureaucrat, the second Congressman, the third newspaper editor, the fourth Senator, the fifth White House aide? Can they stand Bill Clinton’s rules of engagement?

That is the first prong of the threat of civil war. The second comes by way of a group known as The Oathkeepers. These are current and former military, law enforcement and safety personnel who have vowed to honor the oaths they once swore. To uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Go to their website, click on the Ten Orders We Will Not Obey link and scroll down to #3: “We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ or to subject them to trial by military tribunal.” Even if there are only a few thousand active duty military personnel who subscribe to the Oathkeeper philosophy (and I can pretty well guarantee there are a lot more than that) imagine the chaos and disruption those few thousand could cause.

Now imagine that at the height of this disruption the currently serving Oathkeepers sit down and refuse to follow orders they believe to be unlawful. What can the leadership do, call out more soldiers in the hopes that those troops will follow the illegal orders? Do they dare take that chance? And if they try to force men to act in opposition to their conscience, how long before they start getting mass desertions and outright mutiny?

Finally, many of us have read and taken to heart Solzhenitsyn’s admonishment:

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.

This law, if passed, will open up one ginormous can of worms and give politicians and bureaucrats a new appreciation for the term “unintended consequences.”

comments

  1. avatar Jason says:

    First time visitor and reader but a cute way to really tie this to guns is to remind those in DC that…

    Tracers work both ways…

  2. avatar Van says:

    Bravo sir! Bravo!

  3. avatar BC; MT says:

    Thomas Paine’s admonition: “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

    +1
    Absolutely! Conservatives, libs, and all in between or elsewhere need to remember that a true commitment to freedom of one kind or another means especially stalwart support for the freedoms of those whom you detest.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    give politicians and bureaucrats a new appreciation for the term “unintended consequences”

    That’s where we see things a little differently, Bruce, because I think that the consequences are fully intended. The words “liberal” and “conservative” are just words. The real divide is between the government and the governed, between the wolves and the sheep.

    1. avatar NR says:

      Exactly. And boy, would wolves love to see a blanket ban on firearms.

      But remember, there are sheep and then there are sheep. The sheep that provide us with steel wool have no natural enemies.

    2. avatar psmcd says:

      Between the haves, and the have nots.

    3. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      I think that we agree that Democrats and Republicans are the two wings of the same bird of prey. The intended unintended consequences of such legislation, should it pass in its current form, would be way bad juju for all concerned.

      The basic failure of the author’s who drafted this rubbish is that they extrapolate (or not) those consequences from a position of ignorance and their own cowardice and supplication. They trust that they will be eaten last. They can’t or don’t/won’t see that there are millions of very principled, very well armed, very motivated wolves in sheep’s clothing who would like nothing more than to get through their lives peacefully, with dignity and be relatively unmolested in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness; but should push come to shove, those well armed yet peaceful souls will, regretfully, hit back twice as hard.

      It’s their call, as our duly elected representatives, doing our work. I hope that they don’t screw the pooch on this one. I’ve/we’ve really got a lot of better things to do with our lives than to become participants in a civil war.

    4. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

      I with Ralph agree that “The real divide is between the government and the governed, between the wolves and the sheep” but I disagree that the wolves intend to start a war. They are so used to preying on the sheep that they have forgotten that there are sheepdogs out there too. I firmly believe that the authors of this law fully expect that the population will just go along to get along despite everything Mike Vanderboegh, David Codrea and others have tried to do to warn them that there will be no more free Wacos, that we will not accept seeing our fellow citizens shipped out to points unknown, points that, for all we know, could wind up being modern day Bergen-Belsens or Dachaus. Oleg Volk has an excellent take on it here, but it is not just Jews who are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure לעולם לא עוד

    5. avatar Aharon says:

      Ralph,

      I want you to run for Congress. Then for President.

      Personally, I think some of those congressional mobsters are taking actions arrogant with intended consequences and others are taking the same actions ignorant of what may become dire consequences.

  5. avatar Taurus609 says:

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      This. I think every Democrat (and many Republicans) should be forced to memorize this and recite it 5 times a day. They keep wanting to change the laws to eradicate those they disagree with while forgetting that those same manipulations can quickly be turned on them.

    2. avatar Rokurota says:

      Martin Niemöller. Not a great poem, but a powerful reminder.

  6. avatar DaveL says:

    Consider the source, everyone – this is the Huffington Post we’re talking about, after all. I’ve started reading the bill and I find that section 1032(b) provides:

    APPLICABILITY TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS
    AND LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—
    (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The require
    ment to detain a person in military custody under
    this section does not extend to citizens of the United
    States.
    (2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—The require
    ment to detain a person in military custody under
    his 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.

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      This is exactly what I was going to post. I feel like the whole internet got up in arms ( I’ve seen it on many websites ) without bothering to read the whole thing.

      1. avatar NR says:

        Well, it is about 600 pages long. And the jargon is thick as mud. Any lawyers want to chime in? Ralph is/was lawyer, right?

      2. avatar BC; MT says:

        “I feel like the whole internet got up in arms … without bothering to read the whole thing.”

        Oops. Isn’t that what this medium is for?

  7. avatar NR says:

    Beat me to it, Dave. I’m not sure, though. You’re quoting from section 1032, and it simply says that the army is *not required* to detain citizens. Section 1031, on the other hand, *authorizes* them to detain “covered persons”, with no mention of citizenship.

    So they’re authorized by not required? I smell a rat.

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      Good catch NR

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      Not required and Not permitted are too very different things.

    3. avatar DaveL says:

      NR, you’re absolutely right. At least that’s how the bill’s proponents are now representing it in the Senate debate.

      Yikes.

  8. avatar Totenglocke says:

    It’s not that bad – there’s a good 30+ million citizens willing to bring battlefield rules to government soil.

  9. avatar Darren says:

    My first thought on 9/11 was “Somebody has been reading their Tom Clancy.” It was “Debt of Honor” brought to life.

    My second thought was “Some sonofabitch is gonna pay.”

    My third thought was about haptens and immune reactions. Haptens are other substances mixed in with vaccinations that make your immune system react much more strongly than it normally would to something like dead influenza viruses. Without haptens, you wouldn’t get so much immunity, your immune system wouldn’t make much of a fuss and when whatever you were supposed to be immune to came strolling by, your reaction would be nearly as flat-footed as if you were never vaccinated at all.

    The events of 9/11 were a hapten to our body politic, but one designed to cause an autoimmune reaction. Terrorist organizations cannot eliminate our rights, or so encumber them that their exercise is a lesson in frustration. Only our own government can do that, and our own government took the bait. Lots of regular people, like flight instructors, had already notified the government that something strange was afoot, but the big government ignored them. After 9/11, rather than telling people “see something say something” and trusting the American people to secure their own safety, the decision was made pass security responsibilities on to the large, unresponsive and ineffective government that failed the first time as if making the big government apparatus bigger was going to make a difference. The First Responders in any situation are always normal people starting with the passengers of Flight 93 who had already organized the first response to terrorism long before anyone really knew what had happened.

    Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was beaten near-senseless by his fellow passengers, trussed up like a goose with donated belts and sedated with donated meds until the plane could land. The Underwear Bomber was subdued by other passengers and his PETN bomb extinguished. I remember reading an article about a mentally-unstable man who tried to make it to the front of the cabin and was dragged down and beaten by other passengers. Despite the fact that everyday citizens have repeatedly proven themselves perfectly capable of handling situations we are subjected to an intrusive Security Theater performance every time we go to fly, because that’s what the big government sees as the solution. More control, more layers, but not necessarily better outcomes.

    A more rational response, and cheaper, and more effective, would be a return to pre-9/11 boarding and passenger rules with the understanding that we live in a post-9/11 world. Mindset, rather than specious technology that enriches a campaign donor, is the real solution. The most effective thing is the reinforced cockpit door, good luck getting through that in time when the rest of the passengers are trying to gut you like a fish.

    This proposed bill is another symptom of our national autoimmune syndrome. We are trying to use the offensive capabilities of our nation to protect ourselves, but the targets end up being our rights and freedoms instead of the viruses and fungi of the terrorism world. This is what big governments do, which is plenty of reason to not let governments get big or to make them smaller when they start to grow out of control. Good governments trust their citizens and give them the tools to handle things themselves. Our government doesn’t need even one more scrap of power in any sphere and it needs to lose a bunch of the powers it has arrogated to itself. We have a Constitution and we need to use it.

  10. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    SB1867? Game on. Got militia?

  11. avatar 101abn says:

    “Our” politicalized military can not defeat a bunch of goat herders, maybe they are looking for a fight with someone they might can beat? It could happen……….

  12. avatar matt says:

    The Oathkeepers? Not enough to make a difference, and its not like there havent been soldiers who would have refused to obey orders in the past. Look at what happened at Kent State in 1970, plenty of soldiers had no problem firing on unarmed civilians. There are always plenty of people who are willing to sell out another demographic, especially if the media provides a scapegoat. If you think the police are any different, look at the war on drugs.

  13. avatar Roadrunner says:

    After 8 years active duty in the Air Force, and having spent time with vets from other branches, I believe the U.S. military is probably the single greatest concentration of deeply patriotic, freedom loving Americans there is. It would be no small feat to turn them on their countrymen, not to mention all the other patriots who haven’t served in the military.

    Anything is possible. But that’s different from being probable.

    1. avatar matt says:

      Read my post above, they had no problem firing on unarmed civilians at Kent State University in 1970, and those were peace loving hippies. Going back further, MacArther and Patton had no problem firing on, bayoneting, and gasing WW1 veterans in 1932:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army

      1. avatar Roadrunner says:

        You’ll have to do better than 7 bodies over the course of 236 years. Otherwise I’ll think you proved my point.

        1. avatar matt says:

          Just because the National Guard were bad shots, and only managed to score 13 hits out of 67 rounds fired in to a large crowd, doesnt mean they wouldnt have killed more if they were permitted to or ordered to. How many deaths do you want before you consider it to be indicative of what will happen at the future?

          If you want to go back 236 years, then take a look at what happened during the Civil War, not only civilian deaths, but destruction of private property.

          Stanley Milgram’s experiments further support my point.

          And you kind of missing the point, so far the military has been relatively uninvolved in domestic affairs, at look at how much they’ve managed to fuck up. Think of what things will be like if they become more involved. Even fewer will refuse to follow orders because this is simply indefinite detention rather than shooting an unarmed civilian.

        2. avatar karlb says:

          Whiskey Rebellion, and that was done by a militia, not a standing army.

      2. avatar Darren says:

        Might want to read your own reference. The two direct fatalities of the Bonus Army incident came at the hands of DC Police. They used admasite gas because nobody had invented CS and OC yet.

        There is as much conclusive evidence that shots were fired at the National Guard at Kent State before they opened fire as there is that they were ordered to fire, i.e., not much.

        I don’t believe US soldiers will open fire on peaceable people going about their business if ordered to shoot. What I don’t want to see happen is to have a command structure stretching up into the Executive Branch that causes my beliefs to be put to a real-world test. It’s worth mentioning that our current President has promised to veto this AUMF, and the Senate passed it 61-37 anyway. Not a big Obama fan but he is on the right side on this one and the erstwhile GOP nominee from 2008 is one of the cheerleaders. Just sayin’.

    2. avatar Totenglocke says:

      Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. A soldiers job is to obey orders and to kill whoever he is told to kill. I’ve yet to hear of any soldiers objecting to the any of the unnecessary wars the US has been involved in over the last several decades, nor have they stood up and refused to serve politicians with agenda’s blatantly against the Constitution and against the good of the citizens of the US.

      What I have heard from people in the military though is that they view people who aren’t in the military as inferior and how they shouldn’t have the same rights as those in the military.

      1. avatar Brian Z says:

        Wow, you are very wrong. Check this link and see the number of conscientious objectors between 2002-2006 (hint, it’s 425).

        http://www.gao.gov/htext/d071196.html

        This, of course, does not take into account the number of people who went AWOL due to their objections (40,000 since 2000, but who knows the reasons). So just because you’ve “Yet to hear of any” doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And as far as military thinking they are superior to civilians, you must be a civilian because only they are inferior enough to think that way.

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          “And as far as military thinking they are superior to civilians, you must be a civilian because only they are inferior enough to think that way.”

          Nope, I know several who blatantly post that type of stuff on facebook, including how anyone who’s not in the military / ex-military shouldn’t be allowed to vote. It’s a big part (but not the only reason) of why I’m not a fan of the military – the fact that so many of them, just like police and politicians, forget that public servants job is to SERVE the public, not push them around.

        2. avatar Brian Z says:

          You’re right, there are military members that believe they are superior, there are also IT techs at my job that believe they are superior. The fact is, you could probably say that there are members of every work force that believe they are superior. That make them, not all of the people in that work force, @$$holes.

        3. avatar Sig says:

          It will be a sad day indeed when we decide that Facebook posts are representative of society at large (or small).

  14. avatar Eric says:

    “I’m sure that conservatives have visions of Occupy-ers being rounded up and incarcerated dancing in their heads.”

    As a self-described conservative I can attest that I have no desire to round up anyone. My desire to be left alone is completely reciprocal. I literally don’t have the energy to want to mess with everybody else.

  15. avatar Tdiinva says:

    I am afraid you have all jumped the shark on this one. The NDAA does not repeal the Posse Comitates statute. There will be no military ROE coming to America. Anybody who considers the Huffington Post a credible source forfeits his credibility with me.

    1. avatar drew says:

      check out [mca 2006] that in essence removes Posse Comitatus Act and Habeas Corpus, thus setting up a situation for this bill to be passed without restraint.

  16. avatar Tom says:

    Section 1031 of the bill extends the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after the September 11th attacks to encompass any individual who has “substantially supported” Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”

    They could have had a field day with this during the Vietnam War. Just put in Communist where the Taliban and Al Qaeda are mentioned.

  17. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

    Kwanservatives have principles? Well if by “principles” you mean “pocketbooks” than i agree wholeheartedly. But 70 years of failure have proven to me that the so-called “right wingers” worship the establishment they claim to hate.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      70 years? You do realize that it’s been the Democrats who’ve had control of the government for the majority of the last century, right?

      1. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

        And the so-called “conservatives” offered nothing but token resistance to that. They failed by not wresting power from their enemies. That is the failure I describe. 70 years of sentimental garbage and 0 effectiveness.

    2. avatar DrDave says:

      Perhaps the least well thought out post I have read on this forum. Pure rhetoric of the basest form. Well done.

      The progressive assault may have started at my “pocket book”, but it has moved on to a multi-pronged attack. What progressives fail to understand about “principles” is that the other side will bleed and die for their’s. They (true conservatives and constitutionalists) do not fear conflict. A willingness to defend one’s principles, even one’s “pocket book”, is not a flaw…it’s a duty.

      I will not become squeamish in the defense of what I cherish most; my freedom. Understand that one thing and we can remain friends.

      1. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

        Your side has been bleeding and dying….in conflicts that don’t benefit you. For all that blood you have no political power to show for it. Your resistance to “progressivism” is the resistance of the human immune system to HIV.

        Please don’t mistake this for antagonism. It’s just that you represent the false right. The supposed “right” that bases itself upon liberal premises. Try reading some Spengler, Guenon, and Evola before replying. Real rightist thought offers depth, and not the shallow materialism purveyed by the current “right.”

        Take care friend. Best of luck on your intellectual journey.

  18. avatar garynyer says:

    “Stand your ground; don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

  19. avatar Blake says:

    From what I gather, this law is screwed up to the point it is easily misconstrued and abused.

    When was the last time anyone heard of such a law being construed in favor of civil rights and ordinary citizens?

    This law sounds murky enough to give government enough cover to say: “Oops, sorry, it was just a few rogue officials who got out of hand. The appropriate medals, I mean, punishment will be handed out. Overall, the law has worked wonderfully well.”

  20. avatar Aharon says:

    “I’m sure that conservatives have visions of Occupy-ers being rounded up and incarcerated dancing in their heads.” “remember the armed conservatives showing up at Occupy protests with signs saying “we don’t agree with them but we support their right to protest”Overall, an interesting article. Perhaps I’ve missed the point here in the two quotes above. It seems to me that there is a contradiction in those two statements.

    1. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

      Sorry I should have said “I’m sure conservative politicians have visions”. I thought it would be clear by the context but I guess not.

  21. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    My oath to defend the constitution was not up when my enlistment ran out. God forbid it should come to that.

  22. avatar Levi B says:

    The military is too honorable in the US to take action against its people, en masse. It’s why the argument that “The military has jets and tanks! The 2nd amendment can’t stop them!” holds no water. Even if it took a little resistance from us, military personnel would begin to refuse following orders to detain/kill American citizens. “I was just following orders” isn’t an excuse in this day and age.

    1. avatar T says:

      Tyrants, and this is where this has always led, will always, are always, able to find someone willing to pull the trigger. This is especially true if you tell good lies. The left is very good at lying and there will be lots of volunteers to assist them. Regardless if they are Marxists or Statists or opportunists the end result will be a totalitarian one. Effectively our constitution is almost dead now along with any rights we once had and we are being told that they want whatever remains. That’s the simple truth. One of the founders once said to guard the jewel of freedom from any who approach it. Turns out our own government was our greatest threat and greatest enemy.

      So the choice laid at our feet is to choose slavery or revolution because these people want to rule us and take whatever we might, or our children might have in the future.

  23. avatar TSgt B says:

    How much more Sh!t are the TRUE American people going to take? I say “LET IT BEGIN NOW!”. The ONLY WAY these Freedom-stealing bastards will ever get the point is a 2,700 feet per second.

    I remember my Oath, taken freely on several occasions, and have NOT forgotten nor forsaken it. 2 mistakes these bastards made: First, they let me stay in; then, they LET ME GET OUT.

    TSgt B
    U. S. A. F., (Retired) (but never retreating)

  24. avatar karlweiss says:

    “When troops start collecting people into cattle cars …, do you think all of us are going to go along meekly or duck down in hopes we’ll get eaten last?”

    ummm… well, yeh, actually. This IS America, isnt it?!!

    sheesh. Where the hell has this writer been the last 5-6years?!!

  25. avatar rustbelt says:

    Anwar al-Awlaki and his son were American citizens killed directly by CIA officers in a country with which the US was not at war. No warrant was issued, the kill order was generated by anonymous “aids” and not subject to review. No evidence has been presented that he was militarily engaged against the US in any way. I don’t recall any problems on this board with that action. This is how the “targeted killing” of your fellow Americans will be presented to you, and you will believe it.

    1. avatar NCG says:

      Sadly, I think you’re right. The Executive Branch gets to say who the “bad guys” are, then kill or permanently detain them at will. They’ve been doing that forever, but now it will actually be legal.

  26. avatar NCG says:

    This is a great piece. I will say, as always, we have to set aside the stupid left/right argument and agree that state tyranny is unacceptable. So many of you on the right (and that’s a big portion of the TTAG audience) are fine with the state using force against “hippies” or Muslims or other people you disagree with. By all means crack down on the other, but leave us white middle class male gun owners alone. That’s not how state power works. If you think those Republicans giving lip service to 2A actually give a damn about your gun rights, think again. You’re being used, just as the Democratic Party uses it’s constituents. Don’t be a partisan chump. Let’s free ourselves from the corporate/government state, then we can have an honest argument about the other stuff. I think most lefties (like me) will get right on board with guns, with the right messaging.

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