While vacationing in Hawaii (to the tune of $4 million in taxpayer money), President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act. No surprise that he signed it on New Year’s eve, an obvious attempt to minimize the coverage and the outrage.
The ACLU claims that Obama will “forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trail into law.” Obama even had four-star generals urging him to veto the NDAA. In a New York Times op-ed, retired Marines Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar pointed out the bill could “be vetoed without cutting funding for the troops.”
Under the constitution, Obama had three choices- sign the bill, veto the bill (which he could have done, even though it would have been overridden due to the amount of votes it received in Senate), or do nothing (in which case the bill would become law after 10 days). Obama chose to sign the bill, and as if to throw salt into the wound, added a signing statement.
Nowhere in the constitution is there any mention of a presidential signing statement. And, when George W. Bush was using a record number of them, Obama was quite vocal about how unconstitutional they were and how he promised never to use them if he was president.
In his signing statement, Obama reassures American citizens, “Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” Those who still blindly support their chosen one will likely feel that is good enough for them.
However, Obama makes no effort to reassure us that a future administration will act in the same manner. With human nature being what it is, there is no reason to believe a future politician would ever misuse that power…is there?