Wed, August 15, 2012 - 4:12 PM
From International Business Times:
Indefinite Detention Bill: Obama’s Trail of Broken Promises
By HAO LI:
December 16, 2011 10:32 AM EST
President Barack Obama's staff has indicated he will sign the indefinite detention bill into law. The bill, called National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Fiscal Year 2012, has provisions that explicitly spell out the authority of the U.S. President to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or supporting terrorists.
This law completely bypasses the rights (like due process) promised to citizens in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Obama administration, which previously threatened to veto the bill, now supports the bill reportedly because of slight tweaks to it. However, these tweaks do not really change the provisions that codify the indefinite detention of Americans.
"I'm not all that surprised; this president has a nasty habit of giving in to political pressure," wrote New York Times editor Andrew Rosenthal.
The White House, in its defense, never specifically promised to object to the provision that codifies the indefinite detention of Americans. In fact, it complained that earlier versions of the bill would "disrupt the Executive branch's ability to enforce the law and impose unwise and unwarranted restrictions on the U.S. Government's ability to aggressively combat international terrorism."
Still, Obama broke his promises in principle.
While campaigning in 2007, he said "as president, I will close Guantanamo." As president-elect, he reiterated his promise to close it and said he will set up procedures "that abide by our Constitution."
Obama has not closed Guantanamo. Not vetoing the indefinite detention bill, of course, flies in the face of the constitutional principles he claimed to respect.
Back in 2007, Obama said he was "a strong supporter of net neutrality."
In 2010, his administration's performance on the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rule was mixed at best. It remains to be seen what Obama will do if Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) reaches his desk.
Also back in 2007, Obama said he was against "illegal wiretapping of American citizens." "No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are," he said.
His record as the President on warrantless wiretaps, however, is highly questionable.
To be fair, even though Obama made the promises above, he never cast himself as a staunch defender of the U.S. Constitution (ironically, he was a constitutional law professor before he entered politics) and a protector of personal liberties.
Instead, he painted himself as the candidate who will put an end to the legalized cesspool of corruption (i.e. the influence of lobbying money) and playground of bickering (i.e. deep divisions between the Democrats and Republicans) that is Washington.
Alarmingly, Obama has failed miserably in these regards.
According to fact-checking Web site PolitiFact.com, he broke his promises to:
- Centralize ethics and lobbying information for voters
- Create a public "Contracts and Influence" database
- Create tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
His long trail of broken promises is epitomized in his behavior with the health care reform bill in 2010.
During the final negations of the bill, he met with Democratic lawmakers behind closed door and pushed it through.
This explicitly breaks his campaign promise of broadcasting all health care negotiations on C-SPAN and working with Republicans in a spirit of bipartisanship.
Ever since the Democrats lost their supermajority in Senate early in 2010, the Republicans have noticeably resorted to what many consider to be childish and abusive tactics.
However, one must remember that when Obama and his Democrats were in control, they abused the Republicans and steamrolled over them by cramming the unpopular, extreme health care reform bill down the throats of the Republicans and the American people.
When Obama was elected, he had an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress and the popular support of the American people. If there ever was a time when a president could tackle Congress' corruption and unite the country, Obama's landslide victory in 2008 was it.
Obama, unfortunately, failed miserably and then some.