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Rand Paul vs Battlefield USA

Published time: November 29, 2011 18:03
Edited time: December 16, 2011 20:47
United States, Washington:  U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks during a press conference with fellow Republicans on objecting to a scheduled U.S. Senate recess next week June 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Win McNamee)

United States, Washington: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks during a press conference with fellow Republicans on objecting to a scheduled U.S. Senate recess next week June 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Win McNamee)

As lawmakers this week look over a provision that would turn the United States in a warzone and allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is trying to tackle the text by offering an amendment of his own.

A provision to the National Defense Authorization Act going before the Senate today would turn America into a “battlefield,” says supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina.), and would allow the president of the United States the power to detain citizens domestically without trial, allowing the US military to act as law enforcement over their own civilians.

In response, Paul, son of libertarian icon and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, is proposing an amendment that would strike that provision of the legislation, Section 1031, right off the bill.

When RT reported on the story yesterday, we noted that Colorado Senator Mark Udall had offered an amendment of his own which would require Congress to consider whether any detention legislation would be legal. Paul, rather, is trying to bypass that determination and instead strike Section 1031 off completely.

“Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the US military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil,” writes Udall. “That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved.”

While Udall’s amendment has received backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, Rand Paul’s more powerful proposal would do far more to thwart the transformation of America into a battlefield. “There are other similar Amendments too, however none of them completely eliminate the constitutionally offensive section,” reports the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty.

Reporting live from a Senate hearing this morning, the ACLU reports that Paul called the proposed provision dangerously vague and said that Americans should not sacrifice their liberties for supposed security. Along with Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia), they both offered their support for the Udall Amendment this morning. By 3 p.m., however, the ACLU reported that the amendment had failed in a vote of 37-61.

Should Paul’s own amendment be approved, it would, according to the official filing, “remove language affirming the authority of the Armed Forces to detain certain persons pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”