Obama Still Pressing for Changes on Handling Detainees in Defense Bill

President Seeks Broader Power to Choose Venue for Suspects

Even though Sen. Carl Levin (D – MI) claimed weeks ago that he had placed enough loopholes in the wording to render the question moot, President Obama is reportedly still unhappy with the current military spending bill, complaining that the law regarding the treatment of detainees “challenges the president’s authority.”

As written the bill, certain loopholes notwithstanding, demands that every “suspected terrorist” be placed immediately into US military custody, and that even American citizens captured in the United States on allegations related to terrorism cannot have access to the civilian legal system.

Indefinite detention of American citizens without due process, incredibly, is not an issue that either side of the political process is debating. That ship sailed long ago, of course, and instead the question is if the president can order people indefinitely detained wherever he wants or if he has to disappear them only into a military brig.

Republican Senators McCain (R – AZ) and Graham (R – SC) have pressed for the “military only” version on the grounds that anyone accused of terrorism “doesn’t deserve” to have access to anything but a military brig. The president’s argument isn’t any better for the detainees, and just claims that he, as the decider-in-chief, should get the decide exactly where people get disappeared to.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.