Blog of Rights

Angry About the National Defense Authorization Act?

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 4:16pm

Are you still angry about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)? Good. You should be. Are you ready to do something about it? Great! We've just released a new toolkit with resources to help you fight back against the NDAA in your community.

As we've explained before, for the first time in American history, we have a law authorizing the worldwide and indefinite military detention of people captured far from any battlefield. The NDAA has no temporal or geographic limitations. It is completely at odds with our values, violates the Constitution, and corrodes our Nation's commitment to the rule of law.

There is substantial public debate around whether the NDAA could be read even to undermine the Posse Comitatus Act and authorize indefinite military detention without charge or trial within the United States. The ACLU does not believe that the NDAA authorizes domestic military detention. But, chillingly, many in Congress think that it should be used in exactly this way.

In the days and weeks leading up to the bill's passage and signing, tens of thousands of you took action through our action center to tell your members of Congress and President Obama that you don't want this president or any future president to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. In the wake of the bill's signing, you pledged your support to fight worldwide indefinite detention for as long as it takes, and you asked us how you can do more.

Well, here is your chance. Today, we are releasing a toolkit to help fight back against the NDAA, which includes model state and local legislation and other resources. The bill sends a message from your local legislative body to Congress that the indefinite military detention provisions of the NDAA should be repealed. The model legislation prohibits state and local employees from aiding the federal armed forces in the investigation, arrest, detention, or trial of any person within the United States under the NDAA. It also sends a message from your legislative body to Congress that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) should expire at the end of the war in Afghanistan so that the government cannot continue to use the AUMF as justification for its claims that war is everywhere and anywhere and that the president can order the American military to imprison without charge or trial people picked up far from any battlefield.

We encourage you to take our model legislation to your local city council or elected officials and urge them to adopt the bill. To help with your efforts, our toolkit also includes talking points and other advice on passing a community resolution and meeting with your elected officials.

After the Patriot Act, people like you in communities across the country worked with their local lawmakers to pass over 400 state and local resolutions. We're counting on you to do it again. Indefinite military detention of anyone captured far from any battlefield is wrong and illegal, and we need states and localities across the county to echo and amplify that message until Congress and the administration just can't ignore it anymore.

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