The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is all over the internet this week, especially with Obama's announcement today that his threats to veto the bill are, in fact, completely hollow.
Here's the deal with the bill: Every year in a new version of the NDAA, Congress authorizes the amount of money the Pentagon can spend. This year, in addition to the budget, there are two controversial legal changes regarding imprisonment of terrorism suspects.
The big issue most people are upset about with the bill allows for the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens who are accused of terrorism. Previously, American citizens charged with terrorism (like the "Underwear Bomber") were tried in regular court. But the politicians backing the legal change say it's safer for Americans if we don't use our own civilian courts for terrorism suspects, instead sending them into military detention.
The fact that people are upset about this is exciting, but a bit depressing—it appears we only care about the government arresting people, imprisoning them, refusing to charge them, and denying them a trial for years is when the people are American citizens.
Some people are sounding off about another issue with the bill, though, that involves non-US citizens, though. The bill also mandates that non-US citizens suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda or an "affiliated group" be held in military detention without trial—essentially, the Guantanamo for any foreign terror suspect.
The only good news out of this: The only states who had both senators vote against the bill is Oregon. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden were two of only seven nay votes on the controversial bill. Good work, guys.