Blog of Rights

One Thing Maine, Virginia and Arizona Have in Common: Opposition to the NDAA

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:46am

This week, the House Armed Services Committee has turned its attention back to the National Defense Authorization Act and began working on this year's bill. You remember last year's perversion that, for the first time in American history, codified indefinite military detention without charge or trial far from any battlefield? State legislators and activists and concerned citizens on the right and the left — and everyone in between — haven't forgotten.

On Wednesday, Arizona's state legislature sent a bill opposing the detention provisions in the NDAA to their governor. And, last week, a similar bill became law in Virginia, about a month after Maine passed a joint resolution to the same effect. Add to that list the cities and counties that have passed resolutions urging Congress to repeal the problematic provisions in the NDAA — Fairfax, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; El Paso County, Colo.; Fremont County, Colo.; Moffat County, Colo.; Weld County, Colo.; Cherokee County, Kan.; Northampton, Mass.; Alleghany County, N.C.; Macomb, N.Y.; Elk County, Pa.; and New Shoreham, R.I. — and the map starts looking awfully full. This is not a red state issue or a blue state issue or a purple state issue. A few of the resolutions are under-inclusive, but their message is still clear: across social and political lines, no one likes the idea of indefinite detention or mandatory military detention far from any battlefield. (Okay, except maybe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a few other misguided members of Congress.)

Will your town, city, county, or state be the next to speak up? You can make that happen. Check out our model legislation and activist toolkit for legislative language, talking points, and tips to help you get started. Our 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from your local legislative body to Congress that the indefinite military detention provisions of the NDAA should be repealed.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 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.

And while you're at it, head over to our Action Center and urge your member of Congress to fix the NDAA. The time is now. This year's NDAA provides the perfect opportunity for Congress to fix last year's debacle. And, we need you — and your state legislators and city council members — to speak up if we're going to get Congress to finally do the right thing.

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