Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
I am sure that you are likely more aware of the rumors surrounding the Senate's "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012" than am I. However, I am deeply concerned about three items buried in the Senate version of the bill (S. 1867).
In June, the same Defense appropriation bill had a different bill number, S. 1253, with different language in section 1031. In June, section 1031 included this paragraph:
(d) Constitutional Limitation on Applicability to United States Persons-The authority to detain a person under this section does not extend to the detention of citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
Sometime between June and December 1st, this protection was removed. Consequently, the most egregious offense is that, unlike previous versions of the bill, Section 1031 of S. 1867 does NOT restrain the President from indefinitely detaining without trial US Citizens merely on suspicion of aiding “terrorism.” It is a frightening consideration.
A US Citizen may become disenfranchised and disillusioned with the United States as a concept and as an entity. We’ve seen it before. Jose Padilla and Ayman Awlaki are two such cases. One was tried and convicted in Federal court. The other was assassinated during a covert operation.
Regardless of what you may think of these two cases, there is no circumstance under which a US Citizen’s rights to a fair and speedy trial should be eliminated. Yet, that is exactly what this hidden piece of legislation does. It places Liberty on trial as it never has been before in our lifetimes.
From the Senate floor, Senator Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina said, “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.” In other words, the bill itself is written in such a way as to permit the President to use the military to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain US Citizens. You must stop this from going forward unchallenged and unimproved.
The second travesty of S. 1867 is that it relinquishes powers of war to the President that constitutionally belong with Congress. You need to uphold your oath and defend the Constitution by keeping what checks and balances remain. DO NOT let the President determine the length of war that should have been finished with the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Third, the bill completely repeals Article 125 of the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice which says:
(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration , however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.
(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
With the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” it is understandable that a Left-leaning Senate would want to legalize Homosexuality where it is otherwise illegal. I don’t fault them for that. However, in just repealing Article 125, they have inadvertently made bestiality legal in the United States Armed Forces.
Text needs to be put back in the legislation making bestiality and sodomy with minors illegal.
Mr. Simpson, each of these issues need to be addressed and fixed before the House passes its version of the bill. Franklin's advice is just as wise today as it was when he lived. "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
I, sir, do not favor giving up Liberty for any reason including security. Please fight the good fight and fix these provisions of S.1867, or defeat the bill in its entirety.
Good luck and Merry Christmas.