Of course as happens so often, some liberals/Democrats express their concerns rationally and others have a habit of using things like this to fuel their "Obama derangement syndrome" (ODS). A good example would be the contrast between how someone like Adam Serwer (who has been a pretty harsh critic of President Obama on civil liberties) handles it with how the king of ODS Glenn Greenwald deals with it.
If you want to do the hard work of being an informed citizen, I'd encourage you to take a look at those two articles and make up your own mind about what's going on here. I have another purpose in mind for what I want to talk about.
What has bothered me most about the ODS crowd on these issues is how they are so insistent on ignoring history and/or current practices that don't feed their need to blame President Obama for everything. To listen to them, you'd think that the U.S. had never tortured anyone before Bush/Cheney came along and that, until Bradley Manning, no prisoner in this country had ever been subjected to solitary confinement. As I wrote about before, in his new book Glenn Greenwald seems to think there was some utopian time in our country's past where the "rule of law" reigned supreme. It all reeks of incredible ignorance.
And Greenwald is up to it again in his poutrage about NDAA. His big beef on this one is all about the issue of "indefinite detention." Unlike others who have critiqued his take on all of this, I was struck by one short sentence in his article about it that I linked above.
But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute.
That is simply not true. First of all, you have to acknowledge that the real crime in the first place was in declaring a "War on Terrorism." Because once we are legally "at war," the law allows for holding prisoners indefinitely until the hostilities have ended. Like most countries, this has been common practice for the U.S. The problem is with declaring war on a tactic instead of a country (or alliance of countries). Its the indefiniteness of the war that is the issue here.
And secondly, as I've written about before, Greenwald also completely ignores that there is one arena in our prison industrial complex where indefinite detention has been practiced for decades. I don't know the particulars in other states, but here in Minnesota, we have as many as 600 people who have been indefinitely detained because of sex crimes.
Among their ranks are more than 40 elderly offenders, some in wheelchairs; low-functioning adults considered to be little risk of re-offending; and young men without felony records who were hastily committed to the sex-offender program after completing juvenile sentences.
The most outrageous of cases includes:
...a Rice County man who was convicted of possessing child pornography as a juvenile and ended up at the program's Moose Lake facility when he became an adult.
Now I know that people freak out over sex crimes in a way that they don't over other criminal activity (seems to be true of "terrorism" as well). And the media has done a great job of convincing folks that "once a sex criminal...always a sex criminal," just as they created the myth of the super predator that sent thousands of (mostly black) young men to jail for life.
But whether you agree or disagree with the practice of indefinite detention for sex crimes, Glenn Greenwald is simply wrong when he suggests that its never been codified into our laws before.
For me, that doesn't make it right. Its simply yet another example of the selective poutrage by folks like Greenwald and why - until they embrace ALL of the victims of these kinds of practices - I'll simply write them off as ignorant at best and suffering from Obama derangement syndrome at worst.