Sen. Rand Paul, a first-term Republican senator from Kentucky, has been a vocal opponent of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, S. 1867, a piece of legislation that would make perpetual war and indefinite detention of prisoners – including American citizens — without due process a permanent part of American life.
On November 29, Paul took to the Senate floor, recorded a video message, and appeared against indefinite detention of United States citizens under the martial law proposal and in defense of constitutional liberties. “The discussion now to suspend certain rights to due process is especially worrisome given that we are engaged in a war that appears to have no end. Rights given up now cannot be expected to be returned. So, we do well to contemplate the diminishment of due process, knowing that the rights we lose now may never be restored,” Paul said.
Paul warned his colleagues against ignoring the warnings about the provisions of NDAA dealing that deal with detaining suspected terrorists.
“Their legislation would arm the military with the authority to detain indefinitely – without due process or trial – suspected al-Qaida sympathizers, including American citizens apprehended on American soil. I want to repeat that. We are talking about people who are merely suspected of a crime. And we are talking about American citizens. If these provisions pass, we could see American citizens being sent to Guantanamo Bay,” Paul said.
The only thing stopping a too-powerful U.S. state from detaining its citizens is the Constitution and the checks it puts on government power, Rand said. “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well, then the terrorists have won,” Paul said.
The Senate was scheduled to vote on the NDAA today, Thursday, December 1.