All I Want for Christmas Is My Civil Liberties!

Sad, isn’t it, that just two days before Christmas, we have to stand out in the cold and worry about getting another big lump of coal from our politicians?! But unfortunately it’s expected that Obama will sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law right after the holiday. Since that’s the same day the big sales start, few Americans will probably be paying attention to the police state being officially ushered in.


On December 23, however, we were still able to protest the despicable NDAA in front of Obama’s Minnesota Campaign Headquarters. At the end of the rally led by members of “Occupy Minnesota” and the “Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression”, everyone taped their signs to the front window of Obama’s campaign office, hoping he’d somehow get the message. Then we also made telephone calls to tell Obama’s volunteer receptionists to act as his better angels and plead for him to veto the NDAA.

But a veto would be quite the Christmas miracle. Obama’s expected signature will not only de-link the “war on terror” from its original justification, the 9-11 attacks of more than a decade ago, to ensure the “long war” does not end, but it will keep Guantanamo open indefinitely and turn the whole world into a battlefield, including our own backyards here in the U.S. where citizens will stand guilty until proven innocent.

(Signs at Obama’s Campaign Office in Minneapolis)

What’s the worst that could happen as a result of the congressional rubberstamp broadening the war and allowing indefinite military detention of American citizens as “enemy combatants”? Can it happen here? It’s interesting to see what Journalist Joshua Phillips learned from research for his new book: None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture, a harrowing description of the torture of prisoners in Iraq and the deep psychological scars it left on the members of one battalion who dispensed pain to their victims. When asked how this came about, the author says that almost all the soldiers he interviewed cite the main reason for the various torture abuses as the climate of “permissiveness” that began when they were told they did not need to follow the Geneva Conventions anymore. (It should be recalled that Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel lawyers Robert Delahunty and John Yoo had written their memo on Jan 9, 2002 stating that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to “non-state actors”, i.e. Al Qaeda, Taliban and other “terrorist” suspects. Bush consequently signed a directive the following month, implementing this OLC memo and the word went out that gave rise to the abusive conditions at Guantanamo and other military detention sites.)

The term I’ve personally used for this new culture of “permissiveness” is “the green light”. Unless you worked in the system, you might not recognize what the insidious “green light” is. I’ve tried to warn over and over that the green light will eventually go out and the people down the line who have gone along under its influence instead of resisting in accord with their previously ingrained sense of right and wrong are likely to pay a heavy price. Phillips’ book documents that soldiers are now taking their own lives years after having participated in the abuse occasioned by the culture of permissiveness under Bush.

Instead of extinguishing the green light, Obama’s signing of the NDAA could well signal an even worse one being turned on than occurred with Bush’s torture memos.


(Originally submitted to the Huffington Post.)

11 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas Is My Civil Liberties!”

  1. No disrespect Ms. Rowley but, Amerika has become a culture of sheeple. Mushroom sheeple. Kept in the dark and spoon-fed bullsh*t. The dark is comforting to most of the sheeple. No disconcerting struggles with independent thought. Corralled and instructed on which line to cue up in, which part of their body is to be groped (raped?) by TSA, schooled on whom to "elect" to an office of some relevance or not, mindless entertainment and distraction courtesy of mental dildos for effect, and a staggering lack of curiosity. Ignorance breeding contempt for all things unknowable. Or known but, ignored. On purpose. Sheeple are happy in that corral. Endlessly wandering around in one psychotic circle-jerking herd in pointless existence.
    Remembering of course, wars are fought by unnamed drone-o-nauts and boots that do NOT live in the corral's neighborhood. Somebody else dies, not sheeple.

  2. The Bill of Rights died and few bothered to care. It still feels like the NDAA is in a total media blackout. Rumors go back and forth about whether Obama has signed it yet or not (most of the rumors falsely claiming he has when he hasn't yet).

  3. Coleen Rowley:

    ". . . Since that's the day the big sales start, few Americans will probably be paying attention to the police state being officially ushered in. . . ."

    Yes, America, overlook the loss of your liberties. There's a new sale to be had!

    The U.S. Government is broken. It's lawless at home and abroad. O-Bomb-a and the Executive Branch . . . Congress, aka the Parliament of Whores . . . the courts of "law" . . . are all heedless of the Constitution and the law. One man–one man!–Doctor Ron Paul, is fighting to stem the tide of lawlessness and corruption. The other GOP candidates Perry . . . Santorum . . . Gingrich . . . Bachmann . . . Romney . . . are statist, chickenhawk, warmongering scumbags. To hell with all of 'em.

    The U.S. is on the way out. When future historians mull over the ruins of the U.S., they'll have plenty to think about. . . .

  4. Here for those of you who just can’t seem to comprehend that the government would ever do anything against its own people or a segment thereof? You know like the Jews in Germany who thought well maybe, we really are just going to a relocation or resettlement camp.

    So here’s the math.

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution plus the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution equals Freedom. Now I know that this is a Word problem and will be hard for most people to grasp, but trust me it’s worth the work.

  5. I have been a loyal supporter of President Obama; I am no longer.
    I encourage voter replacement of all congressional incumbents. I cannot know about Kaine vs Allen (VA) yet, but will be listening carefully . I cannot know about my presidential candidate. Dr. Paul seems poised to be just as much a "dictator" since he wants to completely gut the federal government. This would leave a shell (and chaos) to be filled with whatever he wishes. Power "…given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” – Ron Paul, taken from his book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom,
    Are we f***ed?

  6. Our elected officials are charged with making decisions on issues about which they have no expertise. This fact has finally caught up with us. The issues are extremely complex (socially, economically, scientifically, environmentally, globally, diplomatically, etc.) and they are being hacked at with axes and clubs instead of with fine surgical instruments. Are we F***ED?!

  7. Yeah, because we all know that Obama the Peace Laureate is going to end the wars, evacuate the military bases, bring the troops home and shrink the military down to the size necessary only for territorial defence.

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