House OKs Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects

The bill avoids Congress's own legal mandates for debt reduction, adding $8 billion to next year's defense spending

The House on Friday passed a defense bill that adds $8 billion for the military next year and approves indefinite detention for terror suspects, even if they are American citizens captured on U.S. soil.

Before voting on the overall bill, the House rejected an amendment by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash), and Justin Amash (R-Mich) that would have barred indefinite detention and rolled back the mandatory military custody ratified in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The vote was 238-182.

“The frightening thing here is that the government is claiming the power under the Afghanistan authorization for use of military force as a justification for entering American homes to grab people, indefinitely detain them and not give them a charge or trial,” Amash said during House debate.

The $642 billion defense bill, passed in a 299-120 vote, completely abandons the deficit-cutting agreement that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans backed last summer. Essentially, Congress mandated action on cutting spending by force of law, and then ignored their own legislative mandates. A more illustrative example of lawlessness is hard to find.

Instead of doing the budget cutting that hawks have objected to for months, the House voted to increase defense spending by $8 billion next fiscal year.

The bill calls for a superfluous missile defense system on the East Coast that the military officially opposes and will prevent the reduction of the arsenal of nuclear weapons required by law under a 2010 treaty with Russia. It also keeps ships and aircraft that the Pentagon wanted to retire, allocates more money for advanced weapons, and gives a pay raise to military personnel.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.