Woman's National Democratic Club

Stop Indefinite Detention of Americans and Connect the Dots

It is clear that our bloated military budget – about the size of those of the next seven countries combined — poses a risk for individual Americans. This budget – along with the recent tax cuts – threatens to balloon the deficit, and directly and indirectly shred our social safety net. At a time of the “gig economy” with rapid growth of independent contractors, workers need all the more security with their health, retirement, and finances.

The ability to freely criticize US militarism and military policy may well be vital not only to end harmful interventions overseas – percentagewise, the US War on Iraq resulted in the equivalent of 12 million Americans dead and 36 million displaced, and fueled other regional conflicts – but also to our ability to care for our citizens.

Yet the proposed Authorization for Military Force would allow for indefinite detention of US citizens without criminal charges. “A president may conceivably claim that a US citizen who writes, speaks out or demonstrates against US military action is a ‘co-belligerent’ and lock him or her up indefinitely without charge,” writes Marjorie Cohn in Truthout. The old AUMF was interpreted broadly. It provided for “all necessary and appropriate force” against those responsible for the 911 attacks, but was used to justify at least 37 operations in 14 countries, many unrelated to the World Trade Center attacks.

–Veena Trehan, Chair, PPC Social and Economic Justice Task Force