Chris Hedges, like Chris Hitchens, can be a bit of a self-aggrandizing mule. Still and all, he’s doing a fine thing for the lot of us, clueless and clued-in alike, by suing President Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The section permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.
Hedges is, rightly, personally and particularly concerned about the status of journalists like him who talk to and write about some pretty unsavory characters. When the legal definitions are mushy–and they are certainly that in the NDAA–it doesn’t take much to imagine that a journalist covering terrorists could get defined as lending “support” to their cause. And there they go, carted off to be extraordinarily rendered. Bit problematic in a democracy.
Here comes the melodramatic pen-flourish section from Hedges:
…the global corporatists—who have created a new species of totalitarianism—demand, during our decay, total power to extract the last vestiges of profit from a degraded ecosystem and disempowered citizenry. The looming dystopia is visible in the skies of blighted postindustrial cities such as Flint, Mich., where drones circle like mechanical vultures. And in an era where the executive branch can draw up secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens, it would be naive to believe these domestic drones will remain unarmed.
Probably true, but talk about style overshadowing substance!
Most interesting aspect of Hedges’ suit is that it was successful (so far). The Obama administration appealed it. Stay tuned for an important, and probably under-heralded, saga with this one.
And, in keeping with recent posts, it bears repeating: this is how we’re forced to fight tyranny in the contemporary world–boring lawsuits, the written word, and politics.
Gun ownership is the Maginot Line of tyranny prevention.
Q: Are we not men?
A: We are our ilk.