But what the author misses about this bill is a phrase that goes mostly unnoticed by too many critics..."until the end of the hostilities authorized by the” AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress after 9/11).
In an attempt to understand these provisions - I would suggest that they are not violations of civil liberties during a time of war. Soldiers captured on any battlefield would be detained indefinitely until the war has ended. As I've said before - the real problem came when the country as a whole accepted the idea of an ongoing "Global War on Terror" as the basic understanding of the AUMF.
And so I would remind everyone what Obama did almost immediately when he became President.
President Barack Obama is replacing the "global war on terror" with a new strategy more narrowly focused on Al-Qaeda and relying more on a broader effort to engage the Muslim world, a top aide said Thursday.
Perhaps you'll remember how the rightwing reacted to this change in rhetoric from the administration - it wasn't pretty. But anyone who has listened to President Obama over the years will recognize that his focus has been on defeating Al Qaeda - not some amorphous war on terror.
Knowing this, I can't help but speculate that when the U.S. finally leaves Afghanistan - President Obama might try to find a way to put an official end to the AUMF provisions (and the resulting NDAA items) once and for all. Our country will need to do that at some point - even though it will be difficult for any politician to pull it off. I also suspect that the current negotiations between the US, Afghanistan and the Taliban are part of working towards that goal.
If progressives truly wanted to be pragmatic in understanding what's going on here and the extremely difficult politics involved, what we would be fighting for is an end to not just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but to this silly notion of an endless war on terror. Doing so is going to require some heavy political lifting and we'll need to show the President and other Democrats that we're up to the task and have their backs when the time comes to officially do so.