Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. His book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. Here he’s interviewed by Paul Jay of the Real News Network.
A note on what we still classify as legalities. From the transcript:
[HEDGES: I]n September, Judge Forrest ruled that Section 1021 [of the NDAA] was in fact unconstitutional, and she issued a permanent injunction. During the trial, she had issued a temporary injunction against that law while it was being challenged in court.
The Obama administration, which had appealed the temporary injunction, filed an emergency appeal against the permanent injunction. ….
I think this has to do with internal dissent. I think that, you know, both the lawyers and myself feel that because they issued an emergency appeal, they reacted so aggressively once Judge Forrest declared this section unconstitutional, they are probably already using the NDAA. This is supposition, but probably they are holding dual Pakistan-U.S. nationals in military facilities like Bagram, because if they weren’t using it, they could have just filed an appeal.
The problem is that once the judge declared the law unconstitutional, if they continue to hold American citizens and deny them access to due process, then they would be in contempt of court. And so the rapid response, the—and it was interesting that it was the Pentagon lawyers that filed this emergency appeal. And the issuance of an emergency stay or temporary stay until the appeal is heard I think essentially is to cover them legally for already putting the NDAA into use. Internally, I really think it has less to do with Iran and a lot more to do with controlling the American public.
It’s hard to for me to see how the “lesser evil” crowd can sleep at night. The NDAA is an enabling act. What Obama’s doing with it is far worse than anything Bush ever did (granted, that we know of).