While members of the conference committee such as Democratic Senator Carl Levin, of Michigan, are confident that their revisions will be sufficient to ensure that Obama does not veto the bill that also includes new sanctions on Iran, money for weapons and national security programs, and a roadmap for increasing the autonomy of local security forces in Afghanistan, human rights organizations are not convinced.
"We remain very concerned that this authority is overbroad," says Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. "This is a dramatic extension of the military's authority on American soil [that] contravenes the Constitution and the foundation of our democracy. Passage of these powers undermines the Constitution and our safety."
Quoted in a piece on the Huffington Post website, John Hutson, former Navy judge advocate general of the Navy and dean emeritus of the University of New Hampshire law school, suggested that by sacrificing American ideals of justice and freedom, the United States makes ourselves more vulnerable. "This kind of dramatic change to who we are as a nation, who we are as a people . . . it's going to cost lives. It's going to cost a way of life."
For a nuanced analysis of this issue, check out lawfareblog.com, where three national security experts are getting down and dirty with the NDAA details.
: This Just In
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