National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

President Obama really becomes a disappointment for everyone who believed in him and his words of believe in changes and I will explain why.

He signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and this on New Years eve as he didn't dare to sign it on a normal day when there is more news coverage and people might question his signature. He also washed his hands in innocence as he wrote a letter disapproving what he signed. This act proves it is a bad law. Great Presidents sometimes use their powers (in the US their veto) to stop bad laws. But I think now he might reach an agreement over the budget.

What I understand is that this law allows the Indefinite Detention of possible terrorists from all over the world except for US civilians (at this moment, of course one can always change a law). Thus, instead of closing Guantanamo Bay as President Obama promised, this law (and therefore the president) will probably increase the number of people in this kind of camps as the war on terror continues.

Of course, terrorists should be punished for what they are doing and possible future acts of terrorism should be prevented, sometimes by killing the terrorists, but indefinite detention of anyone who is only suspected of terrorism should not be possible. And certainly not by the army as too much powers in the hands of the army is always dangerous. When the US wants this laws, it should be within the Department of Justice together with its courts. No, this law makes President Obama looks worse than President Bush regarding human rights.

Before arrests take place, the US should work together with the other countries involved to arrest suspects before taking actions themselves. Thus, the country where the terrorist is hiding should be given the chance to arrest and prosecute the terrorist. It is certainly unacceptable that one country (the US) can decide it can arrest (and probably kidnap) suspects wherever in the world while other countries can't punish American soldiers even when they misbehave in a certain country. This law will make many enemies for America. Will America have the courage to arrest possible Chinese terrorist suspects or will they make exceptions for terrorists from some countries? What with European suspects? Maybe Europe, as an alley of the US will not protest as indeed many Europeans were jailed in Guantanamo Bay, unless Europe finds the US misuses its powers. But I understand this is a very difficult issue because we can't allow terrorists walk free and thus we need powers to arrest and if necessary eliminate them (I don't mourn bin Laden) while we need still enough freedom for the general public. This can only when people accept some of their freedoms are reduced, e.g. no liquids on planes is only a small effort to increase our safety while some people are angry their freedom is reduced.

International Criminal Court
Only the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Den Hague should be able to arrest and prosecute foreigners suspected of terrorism. This Court should decide whether a person is only a political opponent or indeed a possible terrorist. Of course, the Court should have enough personnel to allow quick decisions to be made so a suspect can be arrested before he/she harms people. And of course, the ICC will ask countries to carry out the arrests. The ICC should also work together with other Courts wherever in the world, i.e. arrests are make on the basis of international laws. And each country is allowed to arrest terrorists in its own country (although what are terrorists, the Syrian government claims they are fighting terrorists). But, the US doesn't recognise the ICC because the US doesn't want American civilians and soldiers to be arrested and prosecuted for possible war crimes. Therefore, the US has now a law allowing them to arrest whoever they suspect of being anti-American (what regarding Heads of State the US does not like?) while not one country or international organisation is allowed to arrest Americans unless the US approves of this.

President Obama should have the courage to recognise the International Criminal Court, even when many Americans might not approve him doing (although even I am angry with the speed of their justice, certain when the guilt is proven but still needs to be formally proven (e.g. Yugoslavia)). Then the US would also be able to bring certain people from other countries before the ICC without being accused of hypocrisy. It would also prevent Americans from misbehaving in wars as even Americans can be judged when necessary by an independent Court and thus America could become the moral leader of the world. And one would expect the ICC to be independent as lawyers from all over the world would work in this Court.

But, maybe it is a good law for winning the next elections. Can you imagine the arrest of many possible terrorists just before the presidential election? We might expect the same boost in approval as after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Lets hope this was not in the President's mind. If terrorists need to be arrested, then one should not wait until before an election.

In conclusion
It is a pity President Obama listens too much to the right wing side of the Republicans. Maybe he should re-read what he promised during the elections and listen a little more to members of his own party (although quite a number of Democrats supported this law). Nevertheless, the terrorists are to blame for all these laws which are intended to protect us. But, when the US wants to impose its rule on the whole world, then the whole world should be allowed to vote for its president so the president has to listen to the rest of the world and not only to its own people. Therefore, the UN should be strenghten and become democratic (Parliament and Judicial system) and make decisions affection the whole world.


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